Woodley opts for surgery over rest for (legitimately) broken foot

BY foxsports • February 9, 2015

ST. LOUIS -- If you saw a photograph of the X-ray, you probably would not be surprised to learn that Tyron Woodley will undergo surgery Tuesday morning on the foot he broke during his victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183.

The right X-ray photo, that is.

When Woodley last Monday learned he had broken his foot, he wanted to let his fans know. So he issued the news on his Twitter feed and on Instagram, posting a photograph of an X-ray of a broken foot along with his announcement. Only it wasn't an X-ray of his foot, which led to some consternation in cyberspace.

Woodley said he did not yet have an X-ray of his foot so instead of delaying the news, he searched -- "for a long time" -- on the Internet for an X-ray image that most resembled his broken foot. Someone figured out, however, that the X-ray in the Instagram posting was an imposter and before you knew it, people were wondering what the heck Woodley was up to. At least one commenter questioned whether he really broke his foot. "I'm like, 'Dude, I broke my foot. I wouldn't make that up,'" Woodley said.

He merely was trying to keep his fans up to date but, as he said, "to post on Instagram, you have to have a picture. That's the nature of Instagram."

A day later, when he was able to access his X-ray photo, he posted that on Instagram beside a photograph of his swollen foot. As it turned it, the X-ray of the actual break showed  a more serious injury than the X-ray he found on the Internet.

"If my foot was like that, I wouldn't have to have surgery," said Woodley, pointing out he has bone on bone where the other X-ray was a cleaner break.

To hear Woodley, surgery should not set him back much. He called the injury nothing but a bump on the road en route to a championship bout. A "small, little bump" at that.

"This is not like a career-pausing or career-stopping injury," Woodley said. "Luckily for me, it happened during the fight and I still won. I'll be back ready to fight when I was planning on fighting."

Woodley says a pin will be inserted to ensure the broken bones align correctly during the healing process. The plan is for the foot to stay in a splint until the pin is removed in six weeks, followed by four weeks in a cast. After that, he will transition into a soft, protective wrapping. Throughout the healing process, Woodley plans to continue training the best he can.

"I'll be back training 100 percent probably in two, three months," Woodley said. "I'll probably be able to fight in June or July."

As the No. 3 welterweight, Woodley was not planning on returning to the cage any sooner than summer anyway. He wanted to allow the division to sort out before he fought again. And if everything falls his way, a win his next time out should put him in a championship bout.

Dr. Jeremy McCormick of Washington University Orthopedics will perform the procedure. He told Woodley he could go without surgery and allow the bones to heal on their own. Woodley said he decided to undergo the procedure to make sure the bones align correctly. If the bones do not grow back exactly right, Woodley could face lingering effects.

"I don't want to chance the fact that I might feel a bump at the top or the bottom (of the injured area). So if I'm running, it might feel like a rock in my shoe," he said. "My game is going to be a lot of motion, a lot of movement and 50 percent of our training is done barefoot. I want to make sure I'm right."

The timetable for recovering, Woodley added, would be roughly the same with or without surgery. You could not tell that from the X-ray photo, though.

Either one.

You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @StanMcNeal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.