Jess Lockwood Says Recovery Going Well

Jess Lockwood Jess Lockwood Photo courtesy

Two-time World Champion Jess Lockwood was like many PBR fans this weekend as he posted up at home in Texas to tune in to the CBS Sports Network broadcast of the Gwinnett Invitational.
Lockwood, of course, was checking in on his brother Jake Lockwood, who finished the Gwinnett Invitational, 1-for-3.

Meanwhile, Jess remains in a waiting game almost one week after he underwent reconstructive surgery on his left hamstring in New York City.
Dr. Thomas Youm performed the surgery last Tuesday (March 10), and the No. 2-ranked bull rider in the world said the surgery was a success, and he is expected to make a full recovery in six months.  
“It was really good,” Lockwood said in his first interview since the surgery. “Once he cut me open and got in there, he found out I didn’t need a cadaver tendon that they were going to have to drill through my hip and pull everything up with. I didn’t need that. My main tendon was still attached to the bone, so everything looked a lot better once he got in there. My muscle was torn in half… but he said I should heal easier and quicker than he thought before.”
Lockwood said he is resting comfortably at home in Texas. His left leg is in a brace at a 50-degree angle, and he is also in a hip brace so that he does not bend forward at all. He has been icing his hamstring, using his pulse therapy machine and simply taking it easy.
“It feels fine,” Lockwood said. “It is just the cut on my leg. My whole back of my leg is pretty numb from the incision. Other than that, it doesn’t hurt at all. It literally doesn’t hurt at all. It tingles and feels numb.”
The injury occurred in a freak accident in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 1 when Lockwood caught his right spur in his bull rope during his dismount from I’m Legit Too following a 91.5-point ride. The bovine athlete then yanked Lockwood into a split, ripping his hamstring muscles completely from his hip.
For now, Lockwood is sticking with the original six-month recovery timeline that he was given by Youm and Dr. Tandy Freeman. Lockwood is hopeful, though, that when he meets with Freeman for his six-week check-up next month that maybe he will learn he can come back a little bit sooner.
Regardless, Lockwood is adamant he will be returning to competition this season, and that he has not thrown in the towel when it comes to winning his third World Championship, and second in a row.
“Oh yeah, I am definitely coming back,” Lockwood said. “Shoot, I still think I am in the world title race. There is no reason I shouldn’t be.”
World leader Jose Vitor Leme (broken ribs) has also missed the past two events like Lockwood, so Lockwood remains 72.5 points behind Leme.
A six-month timeline would place Lockwood potentially back in action around September. If he were to be cleared by Labor Day, that would give him seven regular-season UTB events and the 2020 PBR World Finals on Nov. 4-8.
Lockwood competed in 18 UTB events in total last year after having to miss three months because of a broken left collarbone. He has competed in seven UTB events in 2020. If he returned in Anaheim (Sept. 11-12), he could finish this year with appearances at 15 total events.
One rider can earn up to 1,040 world points at the World Finals, which offers 4.3% more points than last year’s Finals.
World Finals round victories are worth 80 points – the equivalent to winning a two-day UTB event average – and the event average at the World Finals pays out 560 world points.
Lockwood won the 2019 PBR World Finals by going 5-for-6 with one round victory, and he will need another massive performance at the Finals if he wants to become the second rider in PBR history to win back-to-back world titles. He would have earned 772 world points at the World Finals in this year’s current points system.
“I knew as soon as I got hurt that I would probably be fine in the world title race, just because I kind of got hurt at a good time if I am going to get hurt, I guess,” Lockwood said. “The summer break is coming up, and (most of) those six months is during the summer break, so I got all that healing time with not too many points being given away.”
The fifth-year pro admitted was tough being sent to the sidelines for so long, especially as it becomes a seemingly endless tradition for him. Lockwood has now missed 27 premier series events in his career since debuting in 2016.
“I was going this year and thinking, ‘Damn, I am going to make it through this whole first half without getting hurt. It is going to be a first for me,’ and then this happens,” Lockwood said. “It is part of it, I guess. There is nothing I could have done in this situation. I got off exactly how I was supposed to, I was going to land on my feet, and it was a freak deal of wrong place, wrong time. Every little thing is so weird how it happened. But I can’t control that.”
The one thing Lockwood can control going forward is how he approaches his rehabilitation in the coming months, as well as strictly following doctor’s orders.
That will be his focus and plan.
Lockwood is committed to returning back to his previous form in due time.
“It may take some time to get some flexibility back, but as flexible as I am and as hard as I work at my flexibility, I think it should come pretty easy to me,” Lockwood said. “I don’t think this is going to affect my riding at all.”

By Justin Felisko |
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko