Young Has Surgery, Hopeful For Infineon

Paul Carruthers | May 7, 2009

Blake Young will likely end up remembering May 5, 2009 as Cuatro de Mayo instead of Cinco de Mayo as that was the day that he underwent surgery in Kentucky to have a portion of his left pinkie finger removed – two days after sustaining injury to his hand in a crash in the second of two AMA American Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park.”I can only count to nine now,” Young joked today. “Actually, I’m in Birmingham at the track right now. I’m out walking around Charlotte’s Web [the portion of the track where he crashed] looking for it [the finger].”The big question now is whether or not the Superbike rookie will be able to make the next round of the series at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California, May 15-17.”It’s tough to tell,” Young said. “It’s getting better every day. They’ve got me on antibiotics so they can keep it clean and not get it infected. I’m working with the Dainese guys and we’re going to get a glove built for me. Right now it’s tough to tell. Every day it’s getting better and better, but all it could take is for me to have one bad day. I just don’t want to rush it.”Young has been laying low since the injury, but plans on starting his training again in a few days.”I’m taking it easy today, tomorrow and probably the next day and then I’m going to try to get back on the bicycle. They’ve got my finger bandaged up and they don’t want me to take it off until they remove the stitches, which will be a week from today. I haven’t even seen it so I don’t know what it looks like so I don’t know what sort of shape it’s in. It’s day by day.”Following the crash on the Sunday at Barber, Young was transported to a local hospital where the wound was cleaned. Then he headed to Louisville, Kentucky, to see noted hand specialist Dr. Luis Scheker.”We talked about our options on what to do and we left it up to the doctor and what he thought… if he could save it, the time frame,” Young explained. “And what the best option was. The last bit of the knuckle was ground down so bad that there wasn’t much left there to do anything with and he was afraid that because of how ground down it was and there was so much dirt in it, he didn’t know if he could get it 100 percent clean. He talked about doing a skin fold where they would open up the ring finger next to it and sew them together to get the blood circulation. But he was worried about it getting infected with the tip of the knuckle being ground off like it was.”Dr. [Thomas] Bryan, who is Mat’s [Mladin] doctor, came with me to Birmingham and he was advising me on what to do and helping me. They did a simple clean there and then I went to Louisville. Dr. Bryan didn’t come with me, but he was there on the phone with the doctor there, Dr. Scheker, who I think did Roger’s [Hayden] finger as well. What we ended up doing was removing the tip of the finger bone-wise and taking the excess meat and skin and folding it back and sewing it up. The big problem was I was just missing so much skin to really do anything with it. He was happy with the way it turned out.”This way is quicker and he said maybe two to three weeks. I’ve got 13 stitches… I’m going to try and race the race and see how I am, but if I don’t think it’s a good idea or Kevin [Schwantz] doesn’t think it’s a good idea, then I don’t know. We’ll go from there. I talked to the boys this morning at the shop [Yoshimura]. We’re getting the bikes ready and we’re planning on going right now, but they know that it’s day by day.”As for the crash itself, Young said he couldn’t avoid hitting Josh Hayes.”I thought the race on Sunday was going to be really good,” Young said. “Mat [Mladin] went in past Josh and pushed him a little wide going in and Josh got on the wet pavement and picked up the gas and rode into Charlotte’s Web next to Mat. I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way he’s going to be able to slow it down on that wet pavement.’ But he had on DOTs, I guess, or intermediates and ended up slowing it down. I was committed to the inside of the turn to go with Mat and when Josh came back we met in the middle and my brake lever hit either his thigh or the bike or something and it just locked up the front wheel.”It could be worse and I could be missing the whole finger.”

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.