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Mark MacDonald hopes to drive in January

November 14, 2019
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Mark MacDonald is still more than a month away from returning to the racetrack as he recovers from shoulder surgery, but the veteran driver is feeling good and looking forward to a successful 2020.

 

MacDonald was injured in July when he was unseated from the sulky prior to a race at Saratoga. He suffered a fractured left shoulder joint and is now rehabbing following surgery and three months in a sling. He hopes to return to action sometime in January.

 

“I’m doing really good,” said MacDonald, who is working out at the gym daily and getting physical therapy four days a week. “I’m taking it day to day. It was a massive surgery and it takes time. It’s just time to stabilize the muscles around it. But I’m feeling good. I feel like I could drive tomorrow. I don’t know if I’d want to hit the ground tomorrow, and that’s what they’re worried about. The surgeon wants me clear for contact.

 

“Strength-wise, it’s no problem. But I don’t want to mess it up if something were to happen. It’s frustrating because it feels really good and they’re saying just take it easy. That’s easier said than done sometimes but I’m working through it and listening to what they tell me.

 

“They X-rayed it the other day and said it’s perfect. They were really happy with the way it looked.”

 

In addition to repairing MacDonald’s shoulder, the surgeon was able to correct tendon issues MacDonald suffered in a previous accident.

 

“I always had pain in that shoulder for a long time,” MacDonald said. “Not horrible, but it always bothered me a little bit. Where he fixed it up, it feels really good. They did a great job and I have a feeling that when I do start driving again it’s going to be a lot better than it’s been in a long time.

 

“It’s hopefully short-term pain for long-term gain.”

 

MacDonald has suffered his share of injuries over the years but said this one was the most difficult.

 

“I seem to get myself into these predicaments,” MacDonald said with a laugh. “For a while, I was bummed because I couldn’t do anything. Shoulder surgery is really tough, the toughest one I’ve had.

 

“You’re just sitting around doing nothing. I had a hard time getting out of bed for a long time, physically; I needed a hand up. I couldn’t move my arm for months. It’s hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable. I couldn’t even put my socks on; it was terrible.”

 

A native of Prince Edward Island who now lives in Goshen, N.Y., the 40-year-old MacDonald has won 6,220 races lifetime and $91.6 million in purses. He was Canada’s Driver of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

 

“Hopefully I’ll get back at it in January,” MacDonald said. “Maybe I’ll change it up a little this year and go to The Meadowlands a little bit more. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I’ll have a real good year. I’m just staying positive now. I have something to look forward to.”--By Ken Weingartner/USTA

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