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MMA Injury Report: Derrick Lewis’ hand officially cleared; Sean O’Malley continues rehab

It’s no secret that MMA is a grueling sport. Injuries occur everywhere from the training room to the cage, and sometimes even beyond that.

Injuries can cause the best set plans to fall by the wayside, derail careers or worse. Still, though, the overwhelming majority of fighters in the sport overcome their physical setbacks and eventually find their way back to competition.

Below MMAjunkie tracks the latest in notable MMA injuries, including the latest on a UFC heavyweight contender, a former interim titleholder and a bantamweight prospect on the rise.

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  • Derrick Lewis (19-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC) tells MMAjunkie that, after visiting the doctor on Thursday, his left hand has officially been cleared for full contact after he injured it in a February win over Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 126. Lewis is scheduled to fight Francis Ngannou (11-2 MMA, 6-1 UFC) in a heavyweight bout at UFC 226 on July 7.
  • Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) had the staples removed from his left knee following surgery on the torn LCL that forced him to withdraw from the UFC 223 main event vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov in April. The former interim UFC lightweight champ has not revealed a timeline for his return.
  • Gunnar Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) expects to return to training in eight weeks after right-knee surgery. The injury forced Nelson to withdraw from this month’s UFC Fight Night 130 welterweight co-headliner against Neil Magny. He hopes to return this year.
  • Santiago Ponzinibbio (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) was forced to withdraw from his UFC Fight Night 128 main event bout with Kamaru Usman due to a left hand injury. The Argentinian welterweight tells MMAFighting.com‘s Guilherme Cruz that he will undergo surgery on May 9 and expects to be out two months.
  • Sean O’Malley (10-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) travelled to the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas on Wednesday, where he’ll be for the next two weeks to continue rehab on the right-foot injury sustained in his victory over Andre Soukhamthath at UFC 223 in March. The bantamweight prospect underwent surgery on March 23 and hopes to return in the fall.
  • Josh Burkman (28-17 MMA, 6-12 UFC) underwent disc-replacement surgery on his C5-6 and C6-7. The UFC veteran said the neck surgery helped relieve “tension” in his shoulder, arm and hand. He has not expressed whether he will attempt a return after losing seven of his past eight fights.
  • Ed Herman (23-13 MMA, 10-9 UFC) is ahead of schedule with his recovery following a complete ACL reconstruction surgery earlier this year. “The Ultimate Fighter 3” finalist is targeting his next fight for September or October, and will remain in the UFC light-heavyweight division.
  • Brandon Girtz (15-8 MMA, 7-6 BMMA) underwent right shoulder surgery this week to repair the damage sustained in his main-event loss to Michael Chandler at Bellator 197 in April. Although early in the recovery process, Girtz has already expressed a desire to fight again this year.

For more on the MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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