NASCAR: Tony Stewart discusses planned fifth surgery on right leg

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After undergoing a fourth surgery last week on the right leg he broke in a sprint car accident back in 2013, Tony Stewart has mentioned details of a planned fifth surgery.

The three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winning team owner for this year’s series champ, Kevin Harvick, was in attendance today without crutches at the Performance Racing Industry trade show in Indianapolis.

According to Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star, Stewart said that the fifth surgery will involve removal of a metal rod in the leg he broke at Southern Iowa Speedway more than one year ago.

He added that with his injuries not healing as quickly as expected, a “small ring” was inserted during one of his previous procedures to help with blood flow.

“I don’t look like I’m walking really good, but I was on crutches two days ago,” Stewart said per the IndyStar. “It’s nice to get off crutches again. I’m looking forward to the day my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. I think that’s coming sooner rather than later.”

Stewart was released from the hospital Dec. 3 after his fourth surgery, and needed crutches while attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards two days later in Las Vegas.

Because of the surgery, Stewart sat in the audience at the Wynn while his Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner, Gene Haas, was at the head table with Harvick and also handled speaking duties.

Stewart fractured both his tibia and fibula in the 2013 sprint car crash, which ended his season early. He returned to competition in time for the start of the 2014 NASCAR campaign, but struggled on the track prior to his involvement in the Aug. 9 sprint car accident that killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr.

The tragedy caused Stewart to sit out three races before he came back at Atlanta Motor Speedway. But his on-track woes continued with only one Top-5 finish in his final 12 events of 2014.