ORLANDO, Fla. – Paul Casey is utterly uncertain how long he’ll be on the shelf, but if it’s a couple of months, he might want to spend the time dreaming up a more entertaining story on how he injured himself this time around.
Casey on Friday announced that because of a dislocated right shoulder sustained in a snowboarding fall on Dec. 24 in Vail, Colo., he will be out for roughly two months, though that’s admittedly just a guess.
For those envisioning a spectacular crash with a blaze of glory, flash and panache, Casey actually hurt himself while wearing all of his precautionary gear, including a helmet and wrist protection … while taking a lesson.
With snowfall levels down in Colorado this winter, the Englishman fell when he hit an icy patch of snow.
“I wish I could say I did it while perfecting my double backflip on the halfpipe,” Casey cracked Friday via phone, after finishing a rehab session near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Perhaps the laughter keeps him from weeping. Casey has had a miserable run of luck over the last three years, sustaining an intercostal rib injury when he was ranked a career-best No. 3 in the world, followed by nagging foot and thumb injuries in 2011. The foot issue forced him to play with a rigid insert in his spikes, cost him to miss several planned starts and he skidded to No. 136 on the PGA Tour in earnings.
In actually, as far as his four major appendages, the only body part he hasn’t banged up recently is his left foot.
“I have MRIs of most all of my body parts,” he said.
The timing of the fall was awful, since he was seemingly primed for a nice comeback season after enduring both physical and personal setbacks in 2011, which included a divorce from his wife of 2 1/2 years last fall. Casey was set to defend his title in the European Tour’s relocated Volvo Golf Champions on Jan. 19 in South Africa, but now will stay home and work on regaining strength in his shoulder.
When Casey fell, it didn’t take long to realize that something was very amiss.
“Within five minutes, I couldn’t move it,” he said. “The lesson was obviously over.”
He’s got some heavy hitters on his medical team, including three guys with ties to Phoenix’s NFL, MLB and NHL teams.
“They did say that if you are going to dislocate your shoulder, I did it with the least amount of damage you could possibly do, which is good, I guess,” Casey said.
Casey said he won’t be able to hit balls for at least two weeks and has no idea when he will be cleared for actual play.
“I honestly can’t give you a time frame,” said Casey, who is ranked No. 20 in the world this week.
Missing starts in a Ryder Cup year – he didn’t play in the event in 2010 – will certainly have him pushing to return as soon as possible. At 34, he is the same age as countryman Luke Donald, who had a career year in 2011 and was named player of the year on two major tours.
“It can still be a great season,” Casey said optimistically, “but now it’s going to start a few weeks later than I intended. At least I won’t miss any of the majors.”
He might want to avoid coaches, too. The rib injury of two years ago came while he was working on a drill with his swing coach.