Brooks Koepka returns after re-tearing patella tendon, 'excruciating' pain

Brooks Koepka said Tuesday that he felt "excruciating'' pain after re-tearing the patella tendon in his left knee when he slipped on wet concrete in October, forcing him to miss nearly three months.

Koepka, the No. 1-ranked player in the world who is making his 2020 debut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, told reporters that he did not begin hitting balls again until just before Christmas. After experiencing issues with his left knee throughout the year, Koepka had stem cell treatment just after the Tour Championship in August.

He returned to a PGA Tour event in Las Vegas in October before slipping on wet concrete at the CJ Cup in South Korea.

"Everything felt good, and then in Korea, I re-tore it and the kneecap had moved into the fat pad,'' Koepka said. "That's excruciating. It's a lot of pain. It's not fun.''

Koepka missed a scheduled start at the WGC-HSBC Champions in early November, as well as the Presidents Cup last month.

"I have been trying to make sure everything feels right, and it does not feel like my right knee, I'll be honest with you, and it probably won't for a while,'' Koepka said. "But it does feel stable, which leaving Korea and all the way up to about a month and a half ago it felt like it could go either way. It could go left, out, back ... it could go any way.

"Even when I got the green light [to practice], I just didn't know whether it was going to feel right, whether you're going to be the same, how it is going to feel. I started hitting balls just before Christmas. Everything felt good. Speed was the same. We were hitting on TrackMan and my numbers were exactly what they were the day I left, which is always nice.

"From that moment on, after a couple of days of hitting balls and not feeling pain, it was OK, I could get back here and do this and finally play.''

After the European Tour event in Abu Dhabi, Koepka is scheduled to play the Saudi International in two weeks. He is scheduled to make his next PGA Tour start at the Genesis Invitational next month and has also announced he will play the Honda Classic.