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  Nov 26, 1999

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

Austin's spinal injury confirmed

NEW YORK (AP) -- One of pro wrestling's top stars has a career-threatening spinal injury, according to a published report.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin has a bone spur on a vertebra that is putting pressure on his spine and causing severe back pain and numbness in his limbs, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Jim Ross, a World Wrestling Federation senior vice-president and ring announcer, told the newspaper that the injury is the result of years of contact in football and professional wrestling.

The injury was aggravated during a 1997 match with Owen Hart, the wrestler killed this year in a ring accident, the Post said.

Austin might have surgery to relieve the pressure on his spinal cord, the newspaper reported.

The WWF is known for its scripted ring dramas and elaborate storylines and characters, but the Post said organization officials deny that Austin's injury is a publicity stunt.

The WWF could not be reached for comment Thursday. A message was left at its Stamford, Conn., headquarters for Robert Collins, Sr., vice-president of communications.

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