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  Dec 3, 1999

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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Austin to undergo surgery

CLEVELAND (AP) -- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin may have taken one body slam too many.

The professional wrestling star will have orthopedic surgery early next year, his doctor said.

Dr. Henry H. Bohlman examined the 10-year member of the World Wrestling Federation. He told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer for a story published today that surgery is planned on bone spurs and damaged vertebrae and discs, with a bone graft part of the procedure to relieve spinal cord pressure.

Austin, 34, is suffering from back pain and a numb feeling in his arms and legs. Following surgery, he will be in a brace for six weeks and then will begin rehabilitation.

Bohlman said he saw nothing that would prevent Austin from fully recovering and returning to wrestling. There had been speculation that the problem could end his career in the ring.

Bohlman, a surgeon at University Hospitals of Cleveland, said Austin showed him a video of a body slam in a match two years ago that may have caused the injury.

"It's unbelievable. He was picked up by this guy, turned around and dropped on his head," Bohlman said.

The WWF is known for its scripted ring dramas and elaborate storylines and characters.

Bohlman recently operated on the Baltimore Oreoles' Cal Ripken Jr., holder of baseball's record for number of consecutive games played, to relieve nerve pressure in Ripken's lower back.

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