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  July 31, 2003



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Edge's fight is outside the ring
By SCOTT ZERR -- EDMONTON SUN

  Bumps and bruises, a split lip and mangled teeth.

They're all injuries that wrestlers must deal with on a steady basis. But then there's the type of debilitating injury that can take you right out of the game for what seems an eternity.

World Wrestling Entertainment star Edge is five months into a rehab stage that is beginning to take its toll. In his early 30s, Edge (Adam Copeland) remains confined to light workouts as he recovers from major neck surgery, the same setback that has felled Edmonton's Chris Benoit, and Rhyno, Kurt Angle and Lita in recent years.

"I'd wrestled with it for about two months before I realized it was broken," Edge said of his damaged neck during a visit to The Sun yesterday to help promote Sunday's WWE Up Close and Uncensored show at Skyreach Centre.

"I didn't realize anything was wrong until I lost all feeling in my left arm. On the X-ray the spinal cord was pinched like a straw, so the doctor said I could keep going and end up in a wheelchair or I could have the surgery."

Edge made his way to San Antonio, Texas, and went under the knife of Dr. Lloyd Youngblood, the surgeon who put Benoit back together in 2001, and now the Orangeville, Ont., native expects a return by March 2004.

"Chris was the only one who came back in 12 months. Everyone else was 14-16 months. I've got a bet with Chris that I will at least tie him."

(Angle returned to action in less than three months, thanks to a new surgical technique, but its long-term effectiveness is unproven.)

"Up until a month ago, the time was going pretty fast. Now it's crawling along," added Edge. "The first two weeks I spent writing what will be my life story because my mind was still going 120 m.p.h. but my body was in reverse."

Edge, an avid comic collector and hockey fan, has slowly begun to build his body back up to its impressive pre-surgery state. He quickly dropped 30 pounds of muscle and could only lift three-pound dumbbells in his first trips to the gym.

When he does make it back inside a WWE ring, Edge expects to have a different approach from the often reckless ways he and then tag-team partner Christian went through during such phenomenal matchups as their legendary Tables, Ladders and Chairs tilts with the Hardys and Dudley Boys. While those outrageous matches remain career highlights, they are at least partly to blame for Edge's serious neck trouble.

"When I started out on my own, my style was starting to change gradually and I'll have to work smarter now," he said. "I won't be doing any spears off the top of a 15-foot ladder. And I'll never be hit in the head with a chair again, not that I'm complaining about that.

"I probably only want to do about five more years anyway. But I don't want to go through what ("Stone Cold'' Steve) Austin did, getting fused, coming back for three years and then needing more surgery and having to quit."

Before he walks away for good, there's one last thing that Edge wants to accomplish in the WWE. "The main thing I want is that world title belt. Winning it a few times would be something, but just one time would be great."

More on Edge




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