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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE

Kerry Plans Surgery Timeout

March 28, 2004|James Rainey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Back on the campaign trail for just a week after an Idaho ski vacation, Sen. John F. Kerry will have to take another break this week for surgery on an injured shoulder.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is scheduled to have a tendon in his right shoulder repaired Wednesday in a one-hour procedure that will probably require general anesthesia.

The surgery will be performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and will keep Kerry in a sling for about a week. Aides said Kerry planned to stay off the campaign trail for the three days following the surgery, time he will use to meet with his staff and take care of other administrative tasks.

Kerry first injured his right shoulder several years ago in a fall from a bicycle. He reinjured the joint in January -- twisting his arm to prevent a fall -- after losing his balance on a bumpy bus ride through Iowa.

The candidate has been able to use his arm normally since then, even tossing footballs and baseballs to his staff between events. But the injury causes sporadic pain and could grow worse if not corrected, Kerry aides said.

The surgery also should clear the way for that all-important ritual of presidential politicking: hugging babies. Aides said that when Kerry picked up one child in recent days, he felt a twinge in the damaged joint.

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-- James Rainey

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