ANTALYA, Turkey – In what has already been a lost season for Louis Oosthuizen – having been sidelined with an injury for a good portion of the year – will get even longer for the South African.
Oosthuizen is scheduled for a facet joint block procedure in his native South Africa the Monday after the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s season-ending event in Dubai, that will sideline him for at least two more weeks.
“I’m really struggling with the lower back, but it comes and goes,” Oosthuizen said during the Turkish Airlines Open. “Today it felt good, but other days it’s just really bad and can’t properly swing, swing through the ball. So the guy said I can’t really hurt it any further, so I’m just finishing these events and then getting an injection done, and hopefully it’ll work.”
The procedure requires the injection of a local anesthetic into one or more of the small joints located along the side of each vertebra on both sides of the spine in the lower part of the back, according to the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopedic Institute website.
Oosthuizen took two months off from golf after withdrawing from the Open Championship. Upon returning, his back went from stiff to painful.
“It was locked up,”’ Oosthuizen said. “It was sore. It sometimes goes down my legs, and I was just struggling to get through some rounds. But hopefully this can free it up and can strengthen it and just go away completely.”
Oosthuizen isn’t alone when it comes to back injuries. Richard Sterne has also had the procedure in the past for both issues with his lower and mid-back with complete success on his lower back.
“You could play within two weeks,” Sterne said. “I walked out of there and I didn’t have pain straightaway. My lower back was fantastic and hasn’t been, touch wood, since then.”
Oosthuizen plans on playing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, while having to miss some of his favorite tournaments: the South African Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship in late November.
Sterne also has plans to have hip surgery to repair a torn labrum after Nedbank that will put the South African on the bench for three months to recover.
“I can’t continue hitting in pain,” Sterne said. “Today it was OK actually, but there are some days that it’s bad. It’s always there. It’s just not something that comes and goes. Unfortunately with some things like that, it is, I’ve waited two years. Three months is nothing.”