Mark has withdrawn from the the Champion Series event in Athens starting tomorrow, citing an unspecified injury. The Australian press says that industry speculation is that Mark’s commitment to Age of Love is behind the withdrawl. Either Mark is injured, (again) or he’s blowing off actual tournament play for tv – either way it’s not a great move for Mark’s actual tennis career or his hopes for another Wimbledon wildcard.
Mark has a new business manager/agent, radio broadcaster Alan Jones. Jones has been a Philippoussis friend for several years and was by his side the day of his injury and following surgery back in January. Prior to January Mark had been represented by IMG’s Brian Cooney. Mark is expecting to begin practicing later this week and return to tournament play (Challengers most likely) at the end of the month.
The Australian is reporting that Mark has returned to Las Vegas to resume training with Gil Reyes.
Mark’s rehab is going well and he is walking without crutches. Mark is working with Barry Richardson in Australia, with whom he has worked in the past. Richardson says Mark should be cycling in two weeks, jogging two weeks after that. Then it’s back to Las Vegas to continue working with Gil Reyes and hopefully back to on court training in early March. Everyone is taking it slow and Mark is being very patient knowing that an extra two weeks now could save a knee breakdown from doing too much too soon.
It’s good news from Sydney today as Mark came through his surgery with a positive outcome. Post-op Dr. Cross characterized the surgery as “straightforward” and that Mark should be back to competitive tennis in six to eight weeks. He said that Mark “had quite a large tear in the meniscus, and about 30% of it had folded back into the joint, which made it very painful.” Dr. Cross performed a lateral menisectomy and removed approximated one-third of the outter cartilege (a piece roughly 10mm by 3mm).
The verdict is in and it’s not good – Mark has torn the lateral meniscus cartilage in his right knee. It’s a potential career ender as that cartilage acts as a giant shock absorber – something especially critical for Mark – a big guy playing a sport hard on the knees and with one bum knee already. The injury is also very painful with Mark quotes as saying “Out of 10 the pain level is 15. I have never had anything like this before.” Mark will be operated on by specialist Dr. Mervyn Cross in Sydney tomorrow. While the full extent of the tear won’t be known until surgery begins, Dr. Cross told The Australian that he was more confident as to Mark’s future after seeing the initial MRI’s taken in Perth.