Coach Paul Mainieri watched Game 1 of LSU's Purple-Gold World Series from the press box to isolate himself from possible coronavirus exposure before undergoing his second neck surgery in less than a year.
Mainieri will have a fusion of the C4 and C5 vertebrae Nov. 16 as he tries to alleviate pain that has bothered him for two years and intensified in the last three months.
"I can’t continue this way," Mainieri said Wednesday night. "I have to have this surgery."
The initial pain appeared late in the summer of 2018. He lived with increasing discomfort throughout the 2019 season, placing his hands on either side of his neck to support it during games. He felt miserable in the dugout.
Paul Mainieri feels excited about the freshmen in LSU’s lineup, and it’s easy to understand why after Game 1 of the Purple-Gold World Series.
Mainieri had surgery last December to insert a prosthetic disc between his C5 and C6 vertebrae. The procedure, done by one of Mainieri's former players at Notre Dame, temporarily alleviated the pain in Mainieri's neck.
"It continued to get worse," Mainieri said. "I don’t have any choice."
Mainieri will have his second surgery performed in Baton Rouge later this month. He gave no indication it will affect his ability to coach next spring; Mainieri didn't miss a game last season after his first procedure.
"The positive is I’m getting taller," Mainieri said, laughing. "I might get all the way up to 5-foot-8 one of the days."