Hamlin tears ACL playing basketball; postpones surgery

With barely three weeks to go before the NASCAR season begins, Denny Hamlin has put a potential dent in his early-season hopes by tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. And, in the tradition of infamous NASCAR injuries like Jimmie Johnson breaking his hand falling off a golf cart and Carl Edwards breaking a foot playing Frisbee, Hamlin suffered the injury in a non-racing context -- in this case, playing pickup basketball.

Hamlin has opted to wait until the end of the season to have the knee repaired, a strategy which will surely be second-guessed if Hamlin doesn't make a strong run at the championship. Hamlin hasn't disclosed the severity of the injury, but it's obviously not bad enough yet to warrant immediate treatment.

The reason why this injury could be significant is that Hamlin's this year's trendy pick to unseat Johnson, which means that -- if history holds -- he won't get anywhere near Victory Lane for awhile. And if he does, he's probably not going to be doing any Edwards-style backflips off his car.


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