“They did say that in time I should be fine,” said Stevens, who is spending hours each day with the leg elevated or wrapped in a therapeutic device that simultaneously ices the injured area and promotes blood flow to stimulate healing.
Stevens received a new ACL tendon and had portions of a damaged meniscus removed and will be sidelined four months. The injury occurred while he was restraining a horse following a race last August at Canterbury Park. As a consequence, he will miss opening day at Turf Paradise for the first time since he started riding there in 1992.
When he isn’t icing the repaired knee, the leg is stabilized with a brace and wrapped in an Ace bandage.
“I’ve probably watched more football than at any other time in my life,” Stevens said.
Speaking of football:
“The doctor said that this surgery would sideline a football player seven months,” Stevens added. “Maybe he doesn’t know that if a horse ducks in or out during a race that a rider’s knee will take the same impact that a running back goes through when he makes a cut.”
Stevens said he plans to discuss the matter when he visits the surgeon next Monday.
Stevens won’t be in the saddle when the live race meet begins Friday in Phoenix but is keeping abreast of matters at the track nonetheless.
“Minnetonka Mist runs on opening day here,” he said. “And Atta Boy Roy runs in a stakes here on opening day.”
Atta Boy Roy, trained by Valerie Lund, ran four times at Canterbury last summer, winning two allowance races. Minnetonka Mist, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Dave Van Winkle, broke his maiden at Canterbury last summer and ran third in the Brian Barenscheer Juvenile Stakes.
Stevens, a three-time riding champ at Canterbury, finished sixth in the standings with 34 wins, 25 seconds, 41 thirds and earnings of $569,702 from 243 mounts during the 2008 meet.