Crutchlow Has Surgery To Fix Collarbone, Assen Still Uncertain

The collarbone woes of the MotoGP paddock are on the mend. After Dani Pedrosa at Le Mans and Colin Edwards at Catalunya, Cal Crutchlow broke his collarbone during qualifying at Silverstone, crashing on cold tires and falling heavily on his shoulder. On Wednesday, Crutchlow finally underwent surgery to have his collarbone plated and fixed, after having been forced to wait while doctors examined a neck injury also caused by the fall. Doctors had suspected a fractured vertebra in his neck, but once CT scans shown no damage to the region, Crutchlow immediate went under the knife to have his collarbone plated.

Given the severity of the injury and the complications in his shoulder, Crutchlow's return for Assen is as yet uncertain. Crutchlow is still in a lot of pain, according to the press release, and with less than a week to go until racing resumes at Assen, he has little time for recovery. A decision will likely be made a day or so before the event is due to begin. In the event that Crutchlow does not ride, he is unlikely to be replaced, the list of available riders with the necessary experience being very short indeed.

Below is the press release from the Yamaha press office:

Cal Crutchlow recovering after successful surgery

Cal Crutchlow has undergone successful surgery on the broken left collarbone he suffered during last weekend's British Grand Prix.

The 25-year-old had a titanium plate and several screws inserted in the shoulder in an operation carried out by specialist surgeon Doctor David Clark at the Royal Derby Hospital. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider broke his left collarbone in five places in a high-speed accident during qualifying for his home race at the Silverstone circuit.

Surgery on the damaged collarbone was delayed while Crutchlow was assessed for a neck injury suffered in the crash. Initial checks at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford showed a suspected non-displacement fract ure of his C2 vertebrae. But CAT scans showed no damage to his neck, and he was immediately transferred to the Royal Derby Hospital for surgery on his left collarbone.

Crutchlow has already started the recovery process with intensive physiotherapy, but it is too early to know whether the 2009 World Supersport Champion will be fit to participate in the Dutch Grand Prix at the historic Assen circuit next weekend.

Further information on Crutchlow's recovery will be made available in the next few days.

Cal Crutchlow:

"The operation on my collarbone was a success and the doctors seems really happy with the outcome. But I am still in a lot of pain. Unfortunately, the break is a lot worse than the one my team-mate Colin Edwards had in Catalunya and I've got different pain and movement levels. And I've spent two days lying on my back with a suspected neck injury, so my shoulder just got swollen. I am not very happy that this happened to me in my home race at Silverstone when things were going really well for the weekend. I don't know if I will ride in Assen. We will have to wait and see, but I'll be trying 100 per cent to be there if I can."

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I've read both Edwards and Crutchlow broke their collarbones into multiple pieces. One feels right as rain the next day and the other absolutely awful. I thought Pedrosa's break was one clean snap, yet now he needs another op. No two injuries are ever the same so it seems.

Strange how things happen in spates - or even threes for the superstitious. I mean who ever heard of aeroplanes being grounded by ash clouds? Now there's been three such occurances in little over one year.

...Hopkins' sponsors should be working to get him (while staying right with his BSB contracts and obligations); 1 or 2 races, if the dates don't conflict.  Paul Denning can make it happen, I'm sure... ;-)

Anything is possible, but why would Paul Denning want that? If Hopkins is as popular in the GP paddock as it seems, than I think Paul wants to see Hopper in HIS GP team--not Tech 3. Besides, John has apparently been approached by Repsol and LCR as replacement and turned them down citing loyalty to his current team. Reading between the lines, I'm guessing Hopper has a legitimate full time shot on a #2 Rizla bike for 2012 and doesn't want to ruin that for a couple of one-off wild cards.

I'd think he's be a #1 rider in bsb next year.........

Seriously, if he wants to get back into the GP paddock you'd think he would do it with a manufacturer that is sure to be there in '12. Or maybe Suzuki will give their official entry to Denning who can run a 'factory' team with 9 engines and 21l around a gsxr1000 with Harris frame or something like that. There were plenty of British chassis mfgrs and he should know them all. They would have at least a lot of data to help tune a MM system with. Hmmm it could work! If anyone could be dangerous on a production based GP bike it would be Hopper.



"Why would Paul Denning do that?"

Because he might be looking for a (better) job next year, too.  Suzuki have been disturbingly silent about plans for next year, so he should keep a couple of options open (from my very distant perspective).

And because, in great contrast to the factory HRC ride (translation:  Red Bull), pitching in at Tech3 means staying loyal with his current sponsor (meaning:  Monster).

I'm not losing sleep thinking it will happen, but if it can be arranged without stepping on any toes at Suzuki, Denning will figure prominently in the negotiations.

Hopper is contracted to Suzuki, Crutchlow to Yamaha, Pedrosa to Honda.

Ain't gonna happen.

Is there a reason for all these collarbone injuries? Has something in the bike designs or protective gear changed that now makes crashers prone to collarbone injuries?

They are all probably just a coincidence but I'm curious if there is another explanation.

I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain that broken collar bones are quite common. Usually missing a week or two seems protocol (if it can be plated). Unless you're Noriyuki Haga. Then you don't need pesky things like "bones" (Miller Motorsports Park, 2008).

There is little doubt, in my mind at least, that Pedrosa is shaken a bit. He's been plagued by injury. And that has to be depressing.

It has to do with a statistical effect called regression to the mean - though that is usually what is observed afterwards. Statistical data - or "stuff that happens" to give it a more meaningful term - tends to be lumpy; events happen in clusters, not because of any particular correlation, but just because that is the nature of randomness. Three broken collarbones could happen at any time during the season, it's just a coincidence that they happened in three consecutive races. Last year, we had a couple of broken legs close together, which nobody questioned. We'll probably go for a while now without a broken collarbone, and everyone will start smashing their wrists again. Eventually, it all evens out.

The only thing we can say about the three broken collarbones is that cold tires have been a contributing cause in Crutchlow's crash, and maybe in Edwards' crash. But cold tires can cause you to break your leg, shoulder, wrist, arm and any number of other injuries. That's just the way things go.

The bridgestone tires are taking noticeably longer to heat up and what's worse is that they seem to cool off fairly easily. This equates to an increase in both high-sides and low-sides. More high-sides = more collarbone/leg/back/wrist injuries

There has been a noticeable change to the Casey Stoner practice sessions this year. Since 2007 he was at the top of the timesheets, or very close, from his 2nd lap of FP1, and built his reputation for being a fast starter. Now he takes his time through at least 4 laps before really giving it the berries. Perhaps the Honda - Ducati difference gives him that luxury?

Jorge has always slowly built into the sessions. Jorges dry fall this year was 1st lap of Catalunya warm up and clearly cold tyre associated.

Colin Edwards in interview elsewhere here talks about this very point and is worth reading.