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Brooks Koepka back in Abu Dhabi after ‘excruciating’ patella tendon tear

Brooks Koepka is set to get back on the course this week at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the first time in months after re-tearing his left patella tendon.

The top-ranked golfer in the world, however, said he isn’t back to full strength just yet.

“I have been trying to make sure everything feels right, and it does not feel like my right knee, I’ll be honest with you, and it probably won’t for a while,” Koepka said Tuesday, via ESPN. “But it does feel stable, which leaving Korea and all the way up to about a month and a half ago it felt like it could go either way. It could go left, out back … It could go any way.” 

Koepka underwent a stem cell treatment on his left knee to repair a partially torn patella tendon after the Tour Championship in August, which was supposed to fix the injury that had hindered him all season. 

He made his season debut at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and then started out at The CJ Cup in South Korea in October. He withdrew from the tournament after slipping on wet concrete in the second round and landing on his knee. He hasn’t played since, missing both the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions and the Presidents Cup.

That pain, he said, was brutal.

“Everything felt good, and then in Korea, I re-tore it and the kneecap had moved into the fat pad,” Koepka said, via ESPN. “That’s excruciating. It’s a lot of pain. It’s not fun.”

Koepka picked up three wins on Tour last season — at The CJ Cup, the PGA Championship and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational — and had nine top-10 finishes, including runner-up finishes at both The Masters and the U.S. Open. He is scheduled to play in the Saudi International later this month before making his 2020 Tour debut in February at the Genesis Invitational. 

While he may not be at full strength, and his game may be a bit rusty at the beginning after a three-month break, Koepka said he definitely feels good enough to compete. 

“Even when I got the green light [to practice], I just didn’t know whether it was going to feel right, whether you’re going to be the same, how it’s going to feel,” Koepka said, via ESPN. “I started hitting balls just before Christmas. Everything felt good. Speed was the same. We were hitting on TrackMan and my numbers were exactly what they were the day I left, which is always nice.

“From that moment on, after a couple days of hitting balls and not feeling pain, it was OK. I could get back here and do this and finally play.”

After re-tearing his patella tendon in South Korea in October, Brooks Koepka is finally ready to get back on the course. (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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