Tiger Woods has announced via his website that he has undergone yet another back surgery in his latest injury setback, which will set him back about a further six months.
The 14-time major champion withdrew from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February with back spasms, and it was widely speculated that despite insistance from his team his injuries were far more serious than they were letting on.
It has now transpired Woods has undergone his fourth successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in both his back and leg, and he seems optimistic that he can still return to competitive action.
"The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods said.
"When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long."
His three previous surgeries were said to have caused his lower back disc to be severely narrowed, making him far more prone to sciatica and severe back and leg pain. Consequently, the statement on his website said that despite rehabilitation, limiting activity and medication, there were no permanent solutions and as a result Woods opted to have the surgery.
The statement said: "The procedure was a minimally invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS ALIF) at L5/S1. The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing"
"Woods will now rest for several weeks, then begin therapy and treatment. While each procedure and case is unique, patients typically return to full activity in about six months."
The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute, who said his rehabilitation will be focused on getting him back to playing golf.
"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.