Nairo Quintana (Movistar) underwent a successful operation for a fractured right scapula Thursday.
The Giro d’Italia champion was forced to abandon the Vuelta a España after an injurious crash in stage 11 on Wednesday.
Orthopedic surgeon Jesús Alfaro, from Pamplona’s Clínica San Miguel, and Movistar Team doctor Alfredo Zúñiga talked to the media in a press conference at the Navarrese hospital. They confirmed the recovery process the Colombian will have to follow, as well as the extent of his fracture.
“Nairo’s injury is a drill-hole fracture of the coracoid process,” said Alfaro. “This kind of fracture is really rare; they affect various sportsmen but are just one percent of all fractures in sport, 10 percent out of the scapula ones.
“The coracoid process can be treated without any operation, but I decided to have him undergo surgery because, as shown on the scanner image, the fracture extends like the tail of a mouse to the scapula — we fixed it with two screws. He has many abrasions all over his body due to the crash, especially [on] the back side of his shoulder. When he first came here he was hurting in his hip and shoulder, but there were no other injuries on his bone tissue, and actually, he really improved from yesterday to today.
“The normal process would be keeping his right arm in a sling for two to three weeks. Then, he would be able to move it; after that, he could be getting on his bike fast, in two to four weeks, and after 6-8 weeks, he could start competing. All of that, with no complications in these 48 hours after surgery, [without] infections or any acute pain. Nairo [was] humble, calm, and didn’t complain about anything; it was all easy with him, he’s a charming kid.”
Zúñiga said his injury was a major setback for the whole team. “It’s a big blow for all of us. The team had planned this Vuelta thoroughly, [was] excited about the challenge — we relied on him. We knew he was going to be up front. It’s just bad luck, and something we unfortunately come across in cycling very often. The important thing is finding a quick solution to this, keeping Nairo calm and recovering him with help by the doctors. Fortunately, he focuses on every adversity he finds in life in an optimist’s way; he was already smiling yesterday, feeling in pain but committed to recover well.”
Alfaro said, “He should go back home tomorrow if everything goes right.”