WWE Fastlane will pit some of the biggest names in the sport against each other in the ring on Sunday night, prepping for the next step towards WrestleMania.
Except one big name won’t be there; John Cena.
Cena, 38, quite possibly the biggest name in the entire WWE universe, underwent shoulder surgery on January 7 to repair an undisclosed injury. He posted the following tweet on January 13:
The loss of Cena was one of the biggest hits in a recent string of injury-prone basketball. The star had returned to WWE Raw on December 28 after a two-month hiatus that spent, mostly, filming a variety of other projects including American Grit, a reality show set to premiere on Fox later this year.
Although it’s unclear when Cena was actually injured, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, who performed the surgery, told WWE.com:
(Cena) had a complete tear of a small portion of the rear rotator cuff tendon, the infraspinatus—toward the top-back of his shoulder.
After Cena’s initial appearance on December 28’s RAW, he faced Alberto Del Rio in a match for the United States Championship that ended in disqualification and did not appear on RAW’s next episode.
So, the big question (particularly with the likes of Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Nikki Bella and Cesaro also out with injuries) is when fans can expect to see Cena wrestling again.
Well, the short answer is, there simply isn’t one. At least not yet. He posted this short video of working out on February 12, after writing on Twitter a few days earlier “Still a LONG way to go, but getting better everyday.”:
Still, there is a reported plan in place for Cena’s return and it centers around WrestleMania. According to WrestllingInc. the hope was originally, for Cena to face The Undertaker at the annual event, but after his injury that match was scraped. Now, the optimistic outlook is that Cena could, in fact, be ready for a return in Dallas, but the WWE isn’t forcing him back into the ring too soon.
There is precedent for Cena to make early returns from injury, including a two month return from pectoral surgery in 2008 after the early prognosis slated him to miss a year. He also came back in November that year from a neck injury he sustained in August.
All in all, the WWE is keeping quiet on Cena’s status, most likely because it doesn’t want to get fans hopes up, but if there’s one thing that is certain it’s the star’s determination to be back in the ring. This weekend, however, he won’t be participating in Fastlane, instead serving as an honorary pace car at the Daytona 500.