Jerry Kelly got some good news Tuesday when he learned his back injury that forced him to withdraw from two PGA Tour events most likely won't keep him out for long.

The Madison PGA Tour player said he was told his problems are centered in his facet joint and not his sacroiliac joint or his discs, which is what he feared. He added he won't need surgery.

"I'm taking it as a positive," said Kelly, who initially met with UW head athletic trainer Dennis Helwig on Tuesday. Kelly then had an MRI and X-rays taken on his back after Helwig referred him to UW spine specialist, Dr. James Leonard.

The 43-year-old Kelly believes he may have hurt his back when he began physical workouts about six weeks ago. He didn't feel any pain until he arrived in Hawaii a week before the season-opening SBS Championship that was held from Jan. 7-10 in Maui.

He played through the pain and finished in a tie for 23rd at the SBS. But it got worse the next week at the Sony in Honolulu and he was forced to withdraw after an opening-round 74. He then pulled out of the Bob Hope Classic, which begins this week in La Quinta, Calif.

"It turned into, ‘OK, this is hard to live.' I couldn't roll over in bed, I couldn't stand up, I couldn't sit down, I couldn't breathe without having it hurt," said Kelly, who added that a massage therapist gave him some relief.

"Then it got worse," said Kelly, who had to withdraw from the Sony when the worst pain hit him at the top of his swing over the last three or four holes of that first round.

Kelly, who said he plans to meet with Leonard again Wednesday to go over the MRI results, is hoping that he will be able to rehabilitate his injured back without having to cut short his original schedule for playing on the Tour.

He had planned to take two weeks off after the Hope and return to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am during the second week of February.

"I feel too good about my game. I'm itching already to get out there," Kelly said. "It's just stuff I need to do here and hopefully it will get me out there pretty soon."


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