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Wed, 5 Dec 2007, 11:26 AM

Torn Left Knee Cartilage to Be Repaired Wednesday
Courtesy of Joe Sherk

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- NHRA Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly is going from an idyllic off-season Caribbean vacation to knee surgery Wednesday at Ohio State University's Sports Medicine Center to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.

Connolly doesn't expect to spend much time in the hospital. "I go in at 5 a.m. and out at noon," he said. "I should be on crutches for four or five days and I'll be going through physical therapy for the rest of the month. The doctor said I should be good to go after therapy."

He tore the cartilage prior to this season and put up with nagging pain throughout the most successful of his four Pro Stock seasons. The driver of Evan Knoll's Torco Racing Cobalt for Victor Cagnazzi Racing won eight races -- including a record-equaling five in a row -- in nine final rounds en route to a third place series finish.

"I couldn't bend the knee when I hurt it and I nursed it through the season . . . having good days and bad days," Connolly said. "I had to put off the surgery until the off-season. I thought this would be a good month to take care of it."

Jeg Coughlin Jr. -- Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing teammate, Delaware, Ohio, resident and the 2007 series champion -- recommended OSU's Sports Medicine department.

"He said the doctors have a better idea of what it takes to get me up and ready to go quicker," said Connolly, who has experienced two right knee surgeries due to a high school wrestling injury. "I'm not going to take any chances with therapy. I have to do it right. The left (clutch pedal) leg is really important in my job . . . and being able to walk around for the rest of my life.

"The rest of this month won't be very exciting, but I'll make up for it in the next 11 months."

Connolly's team plans to begin testing in early January for the 2008 season opener at Pomona, Calif., Feb. 7-10.

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