Denny Hamlin added another torn ACL to his repertoire on Tuesday. The driver injured his right anterior cruciate ligament while playing basketball just two days following his third-place finish at Darlington.
Despite the issue, Hamlin has been cleared to race for the remainder of the season according to a release issued by Joe Gibbs Racing Wednesday afternoon. He is currently 11th on the Chase Grid, assured of a spot with one race remaining before the playoffs begin.
This injury is the second such one for Hamlin while playing basketball this decade. In 2010, he tore his left ACL before the season began and had surgery following a victory in the spring Martinsville race. Hamlin would return to the car without missing any races, winning seven more times and finishing second in the championship standings to Jimmie Johnson.
It’s also the fifth major health issue Hamlin’s fought since 2010. In addition to the ACL tears, the driver missed four races in 2013 following a crash at Auto Club Speedway that resulted in a compound fracture in his lower back. In 2014, Hamlin missed the race at Auto Club due to a piece of metal in his eye.
During a rain delay at Bristol this April, Hamlin had a neck spasm that kept him from returning to the car following the delay. Erik Jones replaced Hamlin, his first foray in Cup Racing. He would finish 26th, although the result was credited to Hamlin because he started the race.
Hamlin will require surgery for his injury following the season.