Matthes Report: Ken Roczen

When will Ken Roczen race again?

When will Ken Roczen race again?

Round five of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series is coming up this weekend at Muddy Creek, Tennessee, and from the looks of it the teams may have to deal with some nasty weather. We haven’t had a pure mud race, the type of day where it just rains all day long, for a while. Indiana a couple of years ago wasn’t pretty but the rain did stop at some point. We’ll see what happens, but if the mud comes that could throw the whole series upside down.

Rain or shine though, it says here that Rockstar Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne will come away with the victory. He’s put a ton of laps on Muddy Creek over the years and although he’s never won there, he’s a new man this year so I think he gets it done.

As far as 450s, it’s Tomac versus Baggett this weekend… I hope! Neither rider outside of one moto (Lakewood second moto, decision: Baggett) have really gotten together for a duel to the death. I hope we see it this weekend; there should be some great racing. Both riders are really going to want to make a statement that they’re the number one dude in the class.

Ken Roczen would undoubtedly be a major player outdoors (Honda Racing Corporation)

Some news this week from the injured Ken Roczen, who shared a short video of him riding (and pulling a wheelie) on a Honda CRF450 that was Christian Craig’s machine on his social media. Sometimes we have a tendency to forget about the German star, because he was hurt so long ago in supercross, but it’ll be interesting to insert him back into the mix when he gets healthy. But when will that be exactly?

Ken has had over ten surgeries on his arm/elbow/wrist since the accident and in his social posts you can see that he’s lost basically all the muscle in it. The 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series starts in less than six months and so you have to think Roczen would have to be on the bike at minimum two months before. So that leaves just over three months from now for Roczen to be in “training for supercross" mode.

Can he do it?

I’m no doctor by any means, but I have asked around with the Honda HRC crew, friends of Kenny and actual doctors that have no inside knowledge of the injury (just what Roczen has shared through social media and that’s a lot as anyone who follows him knows). I know this isn’t a “hot take" by any means but, simply put, no one seems to know. Differing opinions abound as to whether Roczen will be back for supercross but one consensus is that he will be back at some point. Whether he is the same dominant rider we’ve seen before remains to be seen, but race again? Yes, everyone seems to think that won’t be a question.

Ken Roczen continues to dominate headlines each day (Honda Racing Corporation)

In speaking to Chad Reed, who’s represented by the same agency as Roczen (WMG), he thinks that Roczen will be ready for Anaheim 1 in 2018. A Honda source told me that they are expecting him for the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, if not sooner. A doctor who I consulted also told me that it’s going to be a year and – with the triple whammy of elbow, wrist and an arm injury – he won’t be able to get 100% strength in that one arm.

The doctor explained that you have three joints in your arm to hold on to the bike and if one’s weak, the other two can compensate for that weakness. But with all three joints suffering damage in the crash and a chance for post-traumatic arthritis to set in, this doctor thought it would indeed be career altering.

Again though this doctor, who’s a specialist in joints, has not talked to Roczen’s doctors (Roczen went to same surgeon that treats the American Olympic team) or Kenny. That’s an opinion from 10,000 feet away. It’s better than, say, me weighing in, right?

One thing that Roczen has going for him is he’s young and you don’t get to be the best rider in the world by not working hard or being driven. If anyone can come back from this it’s going to be Roczen; money’s no object, he’s got access to the best doctors and he’s going to work harder at this than probably anything he’s ever done before. It’s going to be either the greatest comeback in the sport’s history or the biggest “What if?" question we’ve ever had.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Honda Racing Corporation

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