Originally created 05/14/98

Norman recovery on schedule; Indy 500 drive unlikely



Greg Norman's recovery from shoulder surgery is progressing on schedule, but it's unlikely that he will drive the pace car at the Indianapolis 500.

Bart Collins, president of Great White Shark Enterprises, said a decision would be announced Friday.

"Friday is sort of the deadline," he said Wednesday by phone from his Florida office.

Norman had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder at the Steadman Hawkins Sports Medicine Foundation in Vail, Colo., on April 22. Two days later he said the chances were "not very high" that he would drive the pace car at the Indy 500 on May 24 as scheduled.

Dr. Richard Hawkins examined Norman on Tuesday at the golfer's home in Hobe Sound, Fla., and said Norman was "right on schedule" for a return to competitive golf in November.

It has seemed since the surgery, however, that part of that recovery schedule meant skipping the race.

"The tentative evaluation right now is that there is much greater structural integrity in the joint," Collins said. "It is more stable."

Part of the procedure by Hawkins involved laser and heat treatment to shrink the lining of the left shoulder socket in order to keep the ball from sliding backward, straining the shoulder.

The new procedure is so untested that Hawkins was not able to make a meaningful guess as to whether Norman would fully recovery.

Norman will not even begin hitting golf balls until late August, making an appearance in the Indy 500 pace car seem unlikely.