Lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, the pound-for-pound king, underwent successful surgery to repair an extensive tear of the labrum in his right shoulder on Wednesday.
“The tissue was very nice and we were able to achieve a very nice sturdy repair that should provide him with stability in his shoulder, and I am optimistic for an excellent prognosis,” Dr. Neal ElAttrache told ESPN shortly after performing the arthroscopic procedure at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles.
Lomachenko tore the labrum when he dislocated his shoulder and then popped it back into place during the second round of his 10th-round knockout victory against Jorge Linares to win the lightweight world championship on May 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
When Lomachenko returned home to Ukraine following the fight he felt severe discomfort in his shoulder and had it examined in Ukraine, where he was making plans to have surgery. However, his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, and his manager, Egis Klimas, insisted he come back to the United States to be examined by ElAttrache, a renowned orthopedic surgeon who serves as team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams and has operated on boxers such as Manny Pacquiao, Vitali Klitschko and Andre Berto as well as many non-boxers, including Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady.
“The operation was a big success and the doctor was extraordinarily pleased with how it went, so that’s a relief,” Arum said. “We have a kid here who is tough as nails and we have the best orthopedic surgeon in the world, so I figured everything would be OK. He’s going to rest [on Thursday] and then he’ll start his rehab on Friday. He’ll be here in Los Angeles for about a week and then he’ll go back to Ukraine and we’ll monitor him. It’s all good.”
Lomachenko echoed both ElAttrache’s and Arum’s sentiments in a social media post following his surgery.
ElAttrache said the surgery took a little over an hour to complete and that Lomachenko, who returned to Los Angeles on Monday, would be released later Wednesday.
“There were no surprises,” ElAttrache said. “It was exactly what we expected after looking at his MRI. We were able to achieve a nice labrum repair. He had an extensive labrum tear that would be associated with instability in his shoulder if it was not repaired. [The tear was] approximately 270 degrees with a small amount of cartilage damage and a bone impaction injury, all resulting in instability of the shoulder.”
Before the surgery, ElAttrache said that if all went well Lomachenko would be ready to resume training in early October and be available to fight by early December. After the procedure, he said he had no reason to adjust those expectations.
“The time table stands,” he said. “If [his recovery] is as anticipated we would let him get back into training by then.”
ElAttrache said that because of the severity of the tear it was impressive to him that Lomachenko was able to continue to fight against Linares for as long as he did.
“He had an extensive tear. It was surprising that he was able to experience that [injury] early in the fight and keep going, and especially to win,” ElAttrache said. “The ability for him to focus on what he had to do is pretty remarkable. He was able to put a lot of things out of his mind.”
Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) had some struggles against Linares, partly because of the shoulder injury, including getting knocked down for the first time in his career in the sixth round. But he came storming back to win and secure a world title in his third weight class in just his 12th fight, the fewest needed in boxing history to achieve that.
ElAttrache said he will remain in contact with Lomachenko once he returns to Ukraine.
“We’ll be in touch every day and we’ll see him before he leaves for the Ukraine in about eight to 10 days and we will follow him closely, even though he will be on the other side of the planet,” ElAttrache said. “We’ll connect with Skype.”
Arum initially planned for Lomachenko to have his next fight in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card on Aug. 25, a probable title unification bout against Raymundo Beltran (35-7-1, 21 KOs). If Lomachenko’s rehabilitation goes as planned, Arum said Lomachenko would instead return Dec. 8, also possibly against Beltran, who probably will defend his belt against somebody else on the Aug. 25 card and have to win to keep the prospect of the Lomachenko fight alive.