Mark Menendez completed all three days of practice on Lake Eufaula. However, when he stepped out of his boat yesterday afternoon, he could barely walk to his truck. Long story short: Menendez is en route to the Huntsville Orthopedic Center this morning.
"It's in my lower back, most likely a blown disc," Menendez said in a phone conversation at 6 a.m. "Day before yesterday I made a cast with a crankbait and set the hook. And I thought, that didn't feel right. Then yesterday I finally got the boat seat out."
The 55-year-old veteran angler from Paducah, Ky., was hurting, but when he stepped from his boat to the dock after practice, "I almost fell down. I could hardly walk," he said.
Menendez immediately sought a chiropractor. When that treatment didn't bring much relief, Menendez knew his fishing tournament, and maybe his season, was over.
"My best friend David Hutcheson and his boys (Grant, 22, and Jack, 17) came down to get me," Menendez said. "The boys, who are like my sons, are driving my boat back. David is driving me to a 1 o'clock appointment at the Huntsville Orthopedic Center."