“Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the non-racing accident and promptly evaluated,” said Stewart Haas Racing in a prepared statement today. “He was awake and alert throughout the process and able to move all of his extremities. Stewart flew to North Carolina Tuesday evening and was admitted to a Charlotte-area hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday, he underwent surgery.”
There is currently no timetable for Stewart’s return, but experts familiar with his type of injury say the recuperation be measured in months, rather than weeks. In normal cases, patients with burst fractures wear an immobilizing lumbar brace for 2-3 months, followed by light duty. There is no “light duty” for stock car racers, especially with a type of injury that could be compounded dramatically by additional impact.
He is expected to return to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet at some point during the 2016 season. No replacement driver has been named.