Apr 2, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
With Carl Edwards having a leg up on making the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season after his win at Bristol, it was time for Jon Moore to put his shoulder to the grindstone.
Moore, a veteran rear tire changer on Edwards’ No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, has played hurt for quite some time with a bum shoulder.
After Edwards won at Bristol, Moore decided to get the ongoing – and worsening pain in his shoulder – looked at when the team returned from the following week’s race at Fontana, Calif.
“I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know it was this bad,” Moore told PitTalks.com. “For the last year its been getting progressively worse and then on the way back from (California) it really started hurting. I talked to my doctor, Bill Heisel of Ortho Carolina, and he told me it wasn’t good.”
The diagnosis: a torn Labrum, one of the roughest injuries an athlete can sustain.
Added Moore, “(Dr. Heisel) called me back after they examined me and said, ‘Jon, it’s worse than we thought. It’s torn on the front, the back, and part of your bicep.’ I knew at that point that I needed to do something.”
It was Edwards’ win at Bristol that prompted Moore to get his shoulder examined. Had his driver not won, who knows how much longer Moore would have continued playing hurt.
While his injury didn’t impede his duties as rear tire changer, the pain Moore continued to experience was eventually going to force him to do something about it.
And better to do so now than later in the season, particularly during the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
So Moore was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday and will likely miss about 12 weeks, according to PitTalks.com – or roughly 10 races.
“The thought process behind it was this: Carl won at Bristol so it makes sense to do it now and get it done,” Moore said. “Hopefully, if everything goes well, then I’ll be ready for the Chase.”
Just like other sports leagues call up injury replacements from their respective minor leagues, RFR and the No. 99 team have done the same.
Moore will be replaced by Rapheal Diaz, rear tire changer on the No. 16 Nationwide Series RFR Ford of Ryan Reed.
“He’s pretty good so I feel good about the team and the next few weeks,” Moore said of Diaz.
While he’s an integral part of the No. 99, Moore’s teammates support his decision to have the surgery now, rather than risk further injury that could have resulted in additional tearing or complications.
“Man, I got the best teammates in the world,” Moore said. “Everyone on the team has either been by to see me or called me to wish me well for the surgery. It’s kind of cool knowing I got so much support from my guys.”
To show he was in great spirits and frame of mind going into the operating room, Moore laughed and added that he even had one additional supporter to have the surgery done now.
“Even my hard ass crew chief (veteran Jimmy Fennig) was cool about it!”
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