KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- A planned fifth operation on Tony Stewart's surgically repaired right leg may not happen after all, the three-time NASCAR champion said Tuesday.
Stewart, who severely fractured his lower right leg in a sprint car accident in August 2013, has already had four surgeries, the most recent coming last December. A proposed fifth operation in the offseason would allow doctors to remove his stabilizing titanium rod hardware, but Stewart said he'll find out the status of the surgery in a couple of months.
"We actually don't know yet. There's potential that we may not have to have the operation, after all," Stewart said Tuesday at the announcement of Danica Patrick's new contract and sponsorship deal at Stewart-Haas Racing. "The rod that's in there might stay in there, so at the end of October we're having a meeting with the doctor and we're going to make that decision. Either way, it's either one-and-done or we're done."
Stewart broke both his tibia and fibula in a crash at Southern Iowa Speedway, forcing him to miss the final 15 races of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. He had three surgeries that year, followed by a fourth just ahead of 2014 Champion's Week, when his teammate Kevin Harvick was feted for his first Sprint Cup crown.
Stewart said Tuesday that his leg felt "good," and that the signing of Nature's Bakery to sponsor Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet was a bonus step in a positive, health-conscious direction. Still, Stewart said he's not feeling quite fit enough to emulate Patrick's yoga moves, which tout her flexibility on social media.
"I doubt it," Stewart grinned. "Danica and I joked around, I said every time she does one of these poses and posts it on the internet, I'm going to do the same thing. But I said we've got to make sure there's a deal where you don't do but about two or three a week because I'm going to have to have a recovery period for when I break myself."