Veteran skip Glenn Howard out indefinitely with left knee injury

Veteran skip Glenn Howard will be out of action indefinitely after suffering an injury to his surgically repaired left knee at a bonspiel last week.

Howard said his knee "seized up" on Saturday at the Nufloors Penticton Curling Classic in Penticton, B.C. The 61-year-old skip led his team to a 3-1 record before he was forced to sit out the last preliminary round game and the playoffs. 

The four-time world champion hoped to meet with knee specialists and his surgeon over the coming days to determine next steps.

"It was swollen, I could hardly bend it and I had trouble walking," he said Tuesday from Tiny, Ont.

His son, Scott Howard, took over as skip and guided the three-man team to the title on Monday afternoon. 

Scott, second David Mathers and lead Tim March beat Calgary's Brendan Bottcher in the semifinals before topping American John Shuster — with Chris Plys at skip — in the final of the $100,000 competition.

It was the first crown of the season for the Penetanguishene, Ont.,-based squad. The result also gave the team a berth in the Jan. 24-28 Ontario championship in Dorchester, Ont.

"In so many ways it was a big win," Howard said. 

The elder Howard underwent left knee surgery in July 2022 to fix meniscus issues and make tendon repairs. The 61-year-old has dealt with "manageable" knee pain at times this season but this latest issue has forced him to take a break. 

Howard said the team was in strong form when he noticed the sliding knee issue late in a 9-2 win over Victoria's Neil Dangerfield at the Penticton Curling Club. 

"All of a sudden, it just blew up," Howard said. 

The Penticton title gave Howard some extra recovery time if needed. The team's schedule is now open until the provincial playdowns since an appearance at a last-chance qualifier in early January is no longer required.

However, Howard's on-ice training and practice sessions have been ruled out until doctors determine a timeline for his return. 

The winner of the Ontario championship will represent the province at the March 1-10 Montana's Brier in Regina. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2023. 

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.

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