Denny Hamlin has been cleared to race Saturday night at Richmond after tearing his ACL while playing basketball Tuesday night, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday afternoon.
Hamlin was evaluated at OrthoCarolina and a MRI confirmed the diagnosis.
Hamlin’s crew chief Dave Rogers told NASCAR America that the driver told him he didn’t need a backup driver and didn’t want to seek a medical waiver from NASCAR.
Following the conclusion of the season in November Hamlin will undergo surgery. This is another in a string of injuries or ailments for the driver of the No. 11 Toyota.
Hamlin’s crew chief, Dave Rogers, talked about his driver’s injury on Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America (click video):
He cut his hand during horseplay after a test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2006 as a rookie. He needed stitches to close the wound but did not miss any races.
Hamlin tore the ACL in his left knee in Jan. 2010 while playing basketball. He had surgery on it on March 31, returned to race at Phoenix on April 10 and won the next race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 19.
In 2013, Hamlin missed four races after he suffered a compression fracture in his lower back in a last-lap crash in the Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.
The next year, again at Auto Club Speedway, Hamlin was sidelined in favor of Sam Hornish Jr. due to vision problems caused by a small piece of metal that had been in his eye for three days.
Earlier this year in the Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hamlin was replaced by Erik Jones during a rain delay after he experienced neck spasms. during the early laps.