Unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman is recovering from surgery on his right elbow and expects to be out of action until the end of 2017.
Thurman, who held the WBA 147-pound title, defeated WBC 147-pound champion Danny Garcia at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 4 to become the unified 147-pound champion. Thurman fought through severe pain in his right elbow to secure the 12-round unanimous decision victory.
A few weeks later, he traveled back to New York to have surgery to remove calcium deposits in his right elbow. The surgery was performed by Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on April 19. The surgery was successful and Thurman is currently undergoing rehabilitation on his arm. The doctors have told him he will need six months to recover.
"I had loose bodies in the elbow, similar to what baseball pitchers have. They had to go in and take out the loose bodies and calcium deposits,'' Thurman said.
"It was getting in the way of the hinging of the elbow and when I threw a punch. It was causing pain and inflammation. I noticed it before the Danny Garcia fight. There was no way to get rid of it without the surgery. I'm healing and getting the function back so that I can be pain free.''
The healing process is slow and frustrating for Thurman.
"One thing for sure, the doctor doesn't want me to rush back into action,'' he said. "You can't jump back into the race too soon. It might start to feel good after a month or two, but you don't want to rush it. My right elbow's job is to launch punches like a missile. It might feel good, but it might not be able to sustain that. It might cause inflammation to develop, and then you have to wait to let it calm down and feel better. I figure a 4-month recovery will be quick. The doctor recommended 6 months of no action, before training. I won't rush it.''
Thurman has a special message to his fans who want to see him back in the ring as soon as possible.
"I worked hard to be where I am. We're excited to move forward. This is just the real struggle of an athlete,'' he said. "It's not always picture perfect. It happens in every sport and that's because we demand a lot from our bodies and ourselves. It has repercussions. Cars break down. We get them fixed and put them back on the road. We're looking forward to getting back into the ring and giving you another fight before the year is out.''
In the meantime, Thurman will be closely watching the title match between Errol Spence, Jr. and Kell Brook from Sheffield, England on Saturday, May 27.
"I'll be tuning in and looking forward to the belt coming back to America and looking forward to seeing what Kell Brook has to offer at 147 pounds. I want to see if he wants to make his stand at 147. I like the idea of Spence showing everybody he's the "Truth'' and Kell trying to show everybody how "Special'' he is.''