Doctor Foresees Back Trouble for Montana; Quarterback Shrugs It Off

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, now preparing for the Super Bowl, shrugged off comments by his doctor that advancing arthritis has increased the risk of a career-ending injury and that he may face additional surgery.

Montana, who had a ruptured disc removed in September, 1986, said the surgeon, Arthur White, warned him at the time that another operation was likely.

“There’s no specific date. It could be 20 years from now,” Montana, 32, said. “I’m pushing the future as far as I can.”

White had told the Oakland Tribune that he found it amazing Montana was still playing, 2 1/2 years after the operation.


“He’s eating up the years really fast,” White said. “It would not surprise me, after he played another season or two, that he would need additional surgery and would have to finish playing.”

White added, however, that Montana is in no more danger of paralysis or catastrophic injury than any other player.

“It’s not as if he’s throwing all caution to the wind,” White said. “Besides, if a million dollars was on the line, I’d probably play the next game, too.”