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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I am both disappointed & sadden to announce that due to a serious injury to my shoulder I will not be returning to <a href=”https://twitter.com/WWE”>@WWE</a> at this time.</p>— Shelton J. Benjamin (@Sheltyb803) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Sheltyb803/status/762254398198198276″>August 7, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The above news broke early this morning as Shelton announced that his impending return on SmackDown Live had to be put on hold after a torn rotator cuff was discovered during his WWE physical. It’s a tough break for the 41-year-old who was set to return to the WWE after over six years on the independent scene.
New and returning talents are always evaluated by WWE’s training staff to ensure they are healthy and capable of in-ring competition. The news came as a shock to Benjamin, who noted in another tweet that he’s worked in pain, but had not realized the severity of his injury.
The news raises some questions as to the dangers of working on the independent scene and not being careful with your health. Despite the temporary loss of an incoming talent, it’s a win for WWE’s medical staff and health standards as they’ve helped Benjamin identify an injury that could’ve gotten worse or proved disastrous had his shoulder given away during a match.
As for the impact it’ll have on SmackDown Live, in the short term it’s a big blow as Shelton was going to bring name recognition and a veteran reputation as a superior athlete to the brand. Hopefully, it will allow a younger talent to fill the spot that was reserved for Shelton, but it’s never good to see someone go out like this.
The average recovery time for a torn rotator cuff can be roughly six months, but due to Shelton’s age and the amount of time he may have had the injury, it could be even longer. This puts an early 2017 return on the timetable if he is able to recover well and there is still interest from WWE, and the best case scenario might even be a surprise Royal Rumble return. For now, it’s to the recovery grind for Shelton Benjamin.