PUEBLO, Colo. – Gage Gay was making his way through the Thomas & Mack Center last weekend, taking time to catch up with all of his buddies, and he couldn’t help but be disappointed about not being able to compete in the historic arena.
It has been almost four months since Gay’s season was turned upside down when he tore his right ACL/MCL during Round 1 of the Chicago Invitational attempting to ride Pit Bull.
Gay was the No. 1 bull rider in the world at the time after winning the season-opening PBR Major at the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden in New York a week earlier.
The 23-year-old underwent reconstructive knee surgery a few weeks later, and he said at Last Cowboy Standing that his recovery process has been going well.
“The therapist says I am way ahead of schedule,” Gay said. “They are coming up with new stuff to do every day seeing as I am doing so good with everything. It feels really good. The doctor said it just takes a little while for the elasticity to get back in the ligament, so that is all I am waiting on.”
Gay had his 12-week follow-up with Dr. Andrew Collins in Greensboro, North Carolina, this week went well and that he and has been given the go-ahead to return to competition for the Big Sky, Montana, PBR event on July 27-28.
“I will be back by Big Sky and Livingston (Aug.),” Gay said. “They said it was supposed to be at least six months since surgery, so even then it will be a little soon.”
Gay said he can’t wait to get back to riding in a few months.
“It sucks real bad (being out), especially watching this one worth $100,000,” he said.
Gay has been focusing on building strength in his knee during his rehabilitation.
“I can run on the treadmill and everything now,” he said. “I am just building the muscle on it now. I can run a mile on it no problem. I will leg press 100 pounds.”
Gay added that he has no regrets about deciding to get surgery. Other riders such as Derek Kolbaba and Jose Vitor Leme decided against surgery, however the scale of severity between the three riders was different.
“Watching Kolbaba the first couple of times he got on, it looked like it was a little too early for him,” Gay said. “He was in some pain. I think mine might have been a little worse than Kolbaba’s, but heck I don’t want to have to worry about it happening again. I just wanted to get it like new.
“I know whenever I start riding again it is going to be 100 percent,” Gay said. “It didn’t hurt me one bit having to sit out.”
Gay’s PBR Major victory, which garnered him 700 world points, still has him 22nd in the world standings at the 25th PBR: Unleash The Beast summer break.
The Staley, North Carolina, bull rider is still ranked higher now than he was when he was at the time of last year’s summer break, when he was sitting 26th in the world with 473.33 points.
He is actually in a better spot now to qualify for a fifth consecutive World Finals then he was a year ago as well.
“Yeah I know. It is nuts,” Gay said. “I can’t believe I am still on tour, but it works for me.”
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