(Editor's note: Story by Justin Felisko/PBR)
OCALA, Fla. – The verdict is still not officially in for Jess Lockwood, but the two-time World Champion is confident he indeed has a broken jaw.
Lockwood will get X-rays Monday in Dallas and meet with Dr. Tandy Freeman to plan out next steps for his jaw injury after he took a horn to the face from Detroit Lean during Round 1 of the PBR Monster Energy Invitational on Saturday afternoon when he was bucked off in 2.75 seconds.
“If it needs surgery, I will do surgery and just see how it feels and go from there,” Lockwood said Sunday morning. “If it feels fine, I believe I can come back riding and go from there. If I think I need a couple weeks off, then I will give myself a couple weeks off. It will just depend on how I feel.
We will figure out what it will require, and I will probably have to get it wired shut, but I will definitely take off at least next weekend.”
Lockwood’s wreck in the 2021 season brought back quick memories to last season in which a torn left hamstring held him out of competition for six months, ultimately costing him in the 2020 World Championship.
The opening day of Ocala brought back shades of last season’s premier series event in Kansas City, Missouri, where Jose Vitor Leme and Lockwood both sustained injuries in a span of less than 24 hours. Leme broke his ribs when he was slammed by The Right Stuff, while Lockwood, who also injured his chest in the 15/15, would tear his left hamstring the following day when he caught his spur in his bull rope following his 91.5-point ride on I’m Legit Too.
Leme said on Sunday morning he will likely be out of competition for eight weeks after breaking his right ankle Saturday in Ocala.
Lockwood’s current injury is far less severe compared to his torn left hamstring, and Lockwood is thankful for that despite his obvious frustrations with getting injured on his first bull of the New Year.
“At least this one isn’t a physical therapy and rehab type of injury,” Lockwood said. “Just get it fixed and give it a little bit of time.”
It isn’t uncommon for people to lose weight when they get their jaws wired shut as they are limited to basically a liquid diet.
Lockwood said that is ultimately his one concern about the injury, finding ways to make sure he doesn’t lose to much weight and energy in the process. The 23-year-old already plans on working with the PBR Sports Medicine team on altering his training regiment if he does need his wired shut to find ways to stay in shape in a safe and healthy way.
“That is one thing I am really worried about is how I am going to stay healthy, keep weight and keep feeling good and all of that,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood does not need to fret about the 2021 World Championship race either.
There is still 10 months remaining in the season and a myriad of opportunities to make up any ground he may lose in the world title race.
Lockwood has missed 37 premier series events in his career since turning pro in 2016 due to various injuries such as torn groins, a torn hamstring, a lacerated kidney, broken ribs, a punctured lung and shoulder separations.
“It is what is going to come with the sport, the injuries,” Lockwood said on Saturday before hurting his jaw. “I can’t do anything but rehab and do whatever it takes to get myself fully healed and back to my ability before the injury. It is just something you take with bull riding and the victories.”
Lockwood has always found a way to bounce back from his injuries, and he has become extremely well-versed at understanding when to push his body and when not to.
He will make sure when he does return from the jaw that he is ready.
“We will roll with this one and see how it goes,” Lockwood concluded.