Iversen fighting fit for 2015 after avoiding surgery

King's Lynn 'Roger Warnes Transport' Stars ready for the start of the 2014 Elite League season. Niels-Kristian Iversen ANL-140316-191722002
King's Lynn 'Roger Warnes Transport' Stars ready for the start of the 2014 Elite League season. Niels-Kristian Iversen ANL-140316-191722002
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Watch out the rest of the speedway world: Lynn Roger Warnes Transport Stars number one Niels-Kristian Iversen declared himself fit for 2015 after avoiding knee ligament surgery.

The 32-year-old’s season was over when he crashed with Greg Hancock at the Gorzow SGP on August 30, which also severely disrupted Lynn’s Elite League play-off title hopes.

In the left knee he ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), the second major ligament in the knee connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone; and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) which also connects the thigh bone to the shin bone on the medial or inside of the knee.

Iversen went for a check up this week after wearing a knee brace for almost two months and undergoing a programme of physiotherapy. Doctors confirmed he healed so well that he didn’t need to go under the knife.

The Esbjerg-born racer told http://speedwaygp.com: “This treatment I’ve gone through is a pretty new programme. That’s why the doctors and medical team were also very excited to see how it was. They were almost as excited as I was. It’s quite new to them as well.

“There was about a 50/50 chance of there being no surgery when I started the rehabilitation. Some doctors said it would be best to have surgery straight away, but it seems the treatment I went with paid off.

“I had to go through a programme where I had to wear a special brace – it’s called a spring bend. It keeps the leg in place to allow the ligaments to heal.

“If you have the right treatment, there is a big chance the ligaments can heal by themselves. That’s what we were hoping for because it’s always better if you can avoid cutting and doing stuff with surgery.

“I had loads of exercises I had to do on it. I did everything I possibly could to help speed things up by doing the exercises and treatments on a daily basis. I had oxygen therapy two or three times a week in the first five weeks, which is the most crucial time in the treatment to get everything to bind. That started the healing.

“I’ve been trying everything I could and the brace hasn’t come off for eight weeks. I haven’t been allowed to take it off in the shower or anything. It has been on 24/7. Only when I had to go to the doctors or physio did I take it off.

“I have felt it going forward. Every second day I have felt improvements, which is good and that’s why I had quite big hopes that I didn’t need the surgery.

“The doctors measured how loose the knee was. If the ligaments don’t bind, you can rotate the knee and leg into positions you shouldn’t be able to. But everything was spot on. There was a little bit more movement with the PCL – the back cruciate ligament – than there was on the healthy leg. But this is sort of what you expect, even after surgery.”

Iversen no longer has to wear the brace full-time and is now working up to the stage of training without its support.

He said: “I still have a couple more months of exercise to do with the brace on. If I do longer walks like when I walk around the airport, then I have to put the brace on.

“I still do exercises on a daily basis. I’ll be taking it step by step when I start to do exercises without the brace on in terms of how hard I can train because I won’t have the same kind of support. I’ll need to get used to training it up without the brace on.”

‘Puk’ added: “Now we know that it will be okay because when you need surgery, there is always more recovery needed. We’ve saved that now and I’ll be fully, 100 percent fit when the season starts. Everything has had a massive boost from that news.”