Doctor Annika Improving Still Weeks Away


Annika Sorenstam may not be back in time for her own Ginn Tribute, but she should be fit to defend her title in the U.S. Womens Open.
Sorenstam has been sidelined since the Kraft Nabisco Championship due to a bulging disk in her back and a ruptured disk in her neck.
Dr. Bruce Thomas, Sorenstams physician on the matter, told GOLF CHANNEL Monday that she had an MRI that morning and things looked good.
It was very encouraging, Dr. Thomas said. Annikas MRI showed that the disk that ruptured has receeded to some extent. It no longer is pressing on her spinal cord.
The early prognosis had Sorenstam out of action for at least a month. She was hoping to return in time to compete in the inaugural Ginn Tribute hosted by Annika Sorenstam, May 31-June 3. She may, however, have to set her sights on being ready about a month later for the U.S. Womens Open at Pine Needles, where she is the defending champion.
We think that the MRI shows that shes ahead of schedule as far as the healing. Annikas made it clear that she really doesnt want to return to the tour until she can be competitive and be in top form, Dr. Thomas said.
I think as far as returning to the tour in a month, were behind in that way from a healing standpoint. Were still looking at another two to four weeks from now.
Sorenstam has been limited to only three starts this year. She finished runner-up in her season debut at the MasterCard Classic and then tied for eighth at the Safeway International. She wasnt a factor, however, at the seasons first major, the Kraft Nabisco, tying for 30th.
She also saw her No. 1 spot in the world rankings taken away by Lorena Ochoa two weeks ago.
As for her comeback, Dr. Thomas said Sorenstam is already working herself into shape.
I spoke with her rehab specialist and shes having formal rehab three times a week, but in typical Annika fashion, shes exercising every day and is even going out to the course every day, he said.
Shes already putting and chipping and not having any aggravation with those. Today (Monday) I gave her permission to use some of the short clubs and see how she does with those.
Dr. Thomas also said that it is unclear as to how these injuries will affect Sorenstam in the future.
With these (types of injuries), sometimes theyll clear and shell do well for years and years and years. It can just as easily rear its head some time in the future, he said.
She is developing some new tactics for strengthening the muscles around that disk. With any luck that will keep her from a long-term problem.