News Flash: Hakuho leaves Jungyo over knee bone fracture

hakuho
Hakuho as photographed Oct 11

As the Jungyo reports I publish here lag a few days behind schedule, the readers may not be aware that Hakuho has been off the Torikumi for the past three days. The reason for this was pains in his right knee, which you can see taped in the photo above.

Although he tried to gambarize, eventually he went to have his knee examined in Tokyo. It turned out that a part of his tibia (tibial tubercle?) has broken off. He published his X-ray in his Twitter account:

In the tweet he announces his kyujo, apologizes to the fans awaiting him in the various Jungyo locations, and says he will be undergoing rehabilitation/care.

This puts his participation in Kyushu in jeopardy, as healing from a fracture may take several weeks and he will need time to train back to Yokozuna level of sumo.

We wish the dai-Yokozuna speedy recovery.

19 thoughts on “News Flash: Hakuho leaves Jungyo over knee bone fracture


  1. Chris Gould made the prediction in a recent video that Hakuho would start to limit his Honbasho participation to the 3 Tokyo based tournaments. I’m already beginning to think he may be bang on the money with that call. Disappointing to me as I will be attending the Kyushu Basho and have already missed the Dai Yokozuna at Aki 2017. I’m not writing off a miracle just yet


    • I think the reason Hakuho has published his X-RAY, which is something not usually done, is exactly that there are commentators who accuse him of conspiracy to absent himself from work. You may not think this is a terrible sin, but in Japanese society, work is above everything. I’ve seen Japanese refer to people who do not work and receive money (including ones on medical leave) as “thieves”.

      The man is 33 years old, and has been putting his body through the wringer of Yokozuna duties for 11 years. Wear and tear start to accumulate.


      • What would all the slacker-haters say if he were to just retire now, though? It does seem a little uncool, with all the factors you mention taken into consideration, to have that kind of attitude. 😞


    • I too will be attending the Kyushu basho and will be disappointed if Hakuho isn’t participating, however I very much doubt the man deliberately fractured a bone in his knee as a way of avoiding the tournament! Personally I would rather Hakuho go kyujo for Kyusho and heal properly rather than rush back and endanger his career.

      I wish Hakuho a full recovery and hope he takes the time needed to achieve that.


  2. I’m not suggesting that he is faking the injury. I just think it’s beginning to look like an unfortunate pattern of injury-recovery-injury-recovery that will result in him competing in alternating basho. And he will probably continue to win the tournaments that he completes


  3. So he skips going into a cast for a partial fracture of the right knee, does the Jungyo (taking it easy), gamberizes for 15-0 at Aki, and develops a complete fracture in the right knee.

    Maybe these events are unrelated.


    • I think you’re right on target. I’m reading in Sponichi that he said yesterday that it’s the same pain he had in July. How anybody can get a zensho-yusho with a partially broken bone is beyond me, but there you go.


      • This from Kyodo News, July 11th. Needed to go check the facts.

        “Yokozuna Hakuho, who was seeking to extend his record championship haul to 41, pulled out of the ongoing Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday due to a right knee injury.

        Hakuho won his first three bouts in the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena, but the 33-year-old Mongolian from the Miyagino stable was diagnosed with injuries to his patellar tendon and shin bone requiring two weeks of recovery period.”

        Injuries to the patellar tendon (July) have progressed to what looks like a full rupture of the patellar tendon today.


      • From July. Looks like that same patellar tendon has progresses from “injury” to full detachment (break)

        Yokozuna Hakuho, who was seeking to extend his record championship haul to 41, pulled out of the ongoing Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Wednesday due to a right knee injury.

        Hakuho won his first three bouts in the 15-day meet at Dolphins Arena, but the 33-year-old Mongolian from the Miyagino stable was diagnosed with injuries to his patellar tendon and shin bone requiring two weeks of recovery period.


  4. I have consulted that eminent specialist Dr Wikipedia. If the fractured portion is still in place then a few weeks in a cast is required. If it has become detached (which seems to be the case) then surgery is needed.

    If the diagnosis is correct, Hakuho is definitely not skiving. I don’t want to mong the doom, but this injury could be a career-ender.


    • Well, guess what. The infamous Dr. Takasu (who some of us know from his “It’s time, Dr. Takasu” commercials on Abema TV) quote-retweeted Hakuho’s tweet, and said: “It’s a detachment of the tendon that connects the patella to the tibia. A simple surgery is required to reconnect the bone. Start rehab only after it bonds. If you start rehab now, it will be hard to rejoin the bone”.

      Dr. Takasu, unlike Dr. Wikipedia, actually has a license to practice medicine.

      (If anybody wants to know why “infamous”, take a look at the man’s Wikipedia page).


  5. This from a July post on Tachiai: The official doctor’s report is: “Damage to right-side patellar tendon, suspicion of avulsion fracture of the right tibial tuberosity. Requires two weeks of rest”.

    So the suspicion has been confirmed as the fracture completed working it’s way across the bone at the attachment.


  6. Has there been any hint of when the break happened? He certainly would have noticed when it let loose. Wonder if it happened during an Aki bout.

    Word of caution: Never lift anything heavier than Goeido.


    • That reminds me of an old song, in which the mother writes to her soldier son: “Please be careful when you take enemy tanks. Don’t carry more than one at a time”.

      Hakuho seemed to be doing fine in the Jungyo, doing bouts with Kakuryu until a couple of days ago. The final break could actually have happened in Jungyo. Maybe that strange bout where he got thrown?


      • Good thought. That Kak-toss video was in the day 3&4 report here at Tachiai.

        Hindsight is 20/20 but re-watching now makes me cringe.


      • That seems plausible: when have we ever seen Hakuho thrown like that?. We can only see what happens externally. The impassive visage of the sumo wrestler seldom gives any indication of the pain they are experiencing, Remember when people were accusing Hakuho of skiving because of a big toe injury? Anyone who has suffered from gout can tell you that when your big toe flares up you have serious problems even getting up and down stairs. Getting down for the squat before a bout must be agony with a busted knee.

        Looks like the old sumo story: if you are injured, just fight through it until it gets better or until you just can’t fight any more.


  7. Ah, what a shame. I´m going to watch a day of the Kyushu basho live as well… was hoping to get lucky with the Hakuho-state of health!
    I hope the King gets better soon, not for me but for the good of Sumo.


  8. Hakuho is going to need that knee for many decades of post-sumo life, so, as much as I don’t like his personality, I hope he does everything right in the name of recovery and gets that knee back to the best it can be at this point.

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