Shorty Gorham had 10 days to anticipate the worst. How many months? Six, perhaps more? And what damage would the MRI on his left shoulder reveal?
Those questions were finally answered May 22 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. But before that, he finally saw the footage that put him in the hospital in the first place courtesy of Southwick, Robinson and Wilson Rodeo's bull Spider Man.
"It doesn't look like it should have hurt as much as it did," Gorham said after watching his wreck that occurred May 12 at the Dodge Xtreme Bulls Ride Hard Tour event in Tulsa, Okla. "Once I saw it, I'm just glad it wasn't my neck. That was a good trade."
And one good trade deserves another. Gorham received news that following surgery to repair his shoulder on May 23, he'd miss only six weeks of action.
Not six months.
"That's what I was worried about," Gorham said. "I heard it pop, and the way it sounded, I tore up everything in there. But as it turned out, I got good news."
The "good news" was that his left shoulder was fractured in five places, but there was no structural damage to the ligaments or rotator cuff, as Gorham feared. With the help of a few plates and screws, Gorham plans on returning to the rodeo arena just in time for the Fourth of July run at the St. Paul (Ore.) Rodeo, then to his first Calgary Stampede in July.
But until then, it's rehab, rest and relaxation in south Texas.
"I'm going to milk it for all it's worth," said Gorham, who worked his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2005 after being chosen as the alternate the previous three years. "I'm staying with my girl in Cotulla, and part of my rehab is heading to the beach."
Going to the beach wasn't originally part of Gorham's plan. Neither was being airborne at the Tulsa Convention Center during the Championship Round following Spider Man's buck-off of Chad Eubank (Cleburne, Texas).
Gorham remembered the bull as one that would charge but rarely follow through. However, bulls change patterns, and Gorham unfortunately found himself on the receiving end.
"As I headed out there, I saw that it was going to happen," Gorham said. "He stuck one of his horns underneath my vest and threw me up in the air. I came down at a bad angle and stuck my arm out. I had it extended in front to save my head, and it stretched too much. There were a couple of bumps and a pop, so I heard it break."
Gorham headed to the Justin SportsMedicine Team training room for an X-ray, which revealed a dislocated shoulder and a fractured humerus bone right below the shoulder joint. He then was taken to a local hospital, where the shoulder and bone were reset.
"They put me under (anesthesia) to move the bone in place," Gorham recalled. "I found out that morphine is good, but laughing gas is even better."
Thankfully for Gorham, he'll be laughing again as a bullfighter much sooner than expected.