Earlier today, Racer X online reported that Team Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Mike LaRocco would miss this weekend’s Indianapolis Supercross, so we phoned up The Rock to see what was up¿
If it weren’t for bad luck, Mike LaRocco would have no luck in 2003. After missing a shift and crashing out of the Anaheim I season opener in a spectacular get off that also claimed several other riders, LaRocco soldered on in pain through the next few rounds. “At San Diego I could hardly ride,” said LaRocco. “My body was all banged up and it was hard to sit down because my butt was bruised and burnt from the other bikes hitting me and laying on me in the pile up.”
Things took a turn for the worse at Anaheim III when he crashed late in the whoops late in the main event and injured his shoulder. At first, LaRocco thought it was just banged up but opted to get it checked out later the following week. After undergoing a CAT scan the Friday before San Diego, LaRocco was told that there was no serious damage and that he could race as long as he could tolerate the pain. In spite of a cortisone shot, The Rock opted to sit San Diego out and let his shoulder heal.
Things didn’t get much better the following week at the Minneapolis event, where LaRocco pulled out early in his heat race. “It’s still bothering me,” he said. “It hurts, but more than anything I am worried that it might give out when I need it most.”
LaRocco soldiered through the pain at the Atlanta SX last weekend, but he hardly looked like himself as he rode to an eighth-place finish. “I was dying after that main event,” he said. “I was doing all I could to hold on. I wanted to pull off, but I made my self buckle down and ride it out. I couldn’t do anything all this week, so I called Dr. Murphy up to get my shoulder looked at again.”
LaRocco underwent several more CAT scans today in San Diego and this time, some damage was found. “I went through the whole kit and caboodle again today,” said LaRocco. “This time, Dr. Murphy did the scans at different angles and was able to find some stuff hanging in there. It’s not easy to tell how bad the damage to my rotator cuff is without going in there, but there is definitely something wrong.
“At this point, it’s uncertain how bad things are. I am going in for surgery next Wednesday. There are basically two options. They are going to go in there with a scope and check things out. They will either trim the damaged stuff out and I will be sidelined for three to four weeks, or they will go in and put it all back together and I will be out for three to four months.
“Basically, I told Dr. Murphy that if it looks like I will be hindered for life if they just go in and trim the stuff off, he should go in and put me back together. If he thinks that it won’t bother me forever by just trimming the stuff, then he’ll go that route. I really won’t know which option he went for until I wake up, I guess. I sure hope it’s not the serious route. I can’t bear to think about missing the start of the Nationals again.”
LaRocco will be in Indianapolis this weekend for his hometown race, but only to ride out during opening ceremonies and sign autographs. “I feel guilty, more than anything,” he said. “This is my hometown race and I wasn’t able to attend any of the autograph signings because of the tests and all. It seems like I am gonna fly in and out of there before I know it. I look forward to Indy every year because it is my hometown race, and I would like nothing better to win that one before I retire.”
If you’re a fan of The Rock, keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned for a report on his post-surgery condition next week.