James Courtney looks set to miss next month’s V8 Supercars event at Sandown, as the Holden star continues to recover from chest injuries suffered in a freak accident in pit lane.
Breathing remains a struggle for Courtney, who is still in hospital after being struck by a metal hoarding blown over by a low-flying Navy helicopter during a display at Sydney Motorsport Park on Friday.
He suffered two broken ribs and a pneumothorax – a build up of air in the lining of his lungs.
“I’d be back today if I was allowed, but they said (no) for the foreseeable future and probably not Sandown,” said Courtney, speaking for the first time since the incident on Sunday.
“I’m just trying to do everything I can to get ready as soon as I can.”
The 35-year-old, sounding hoarse and out of breath, opened up about the dramatic few moments outside the Holden Racing Team’s garage just before Friday’s second practice session.
Amid all the dust and debris tossed around by the helicopter’s downdraft, Courtney remembers being hit by something under his arms.
“(It) sort of knocked me into the alleyway between two garages,” he said.
“I was on the ground, I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t talk or yell to get anyone’s attention.
“I was just laying there, hoping someone would see me.
“Thankfully, the guys saw me and then came over and started helping me be able to breath again.”
The collision caused fractures in his ribs, which punctured the lining of his lungs – causing fluid and air to leak into the cavity.
“It tries to deflate my lung,” he explained.
“That’s why it’s hard breathing.
“(I just) need time for the lung to repair and the ribs, so it’s going to be a while.”
Co-driver Jack Perkins took to the wheel of his No.22 Commodore for the remainder of the round at Sydney Motorsport Park.
It’s unclear, though, who will replace Courtney at Sandown – the first of three endurance races.
V8s legend Greg Murphy could be recalled, having paired with him last year before retiring to take up a full-time TV commentary role.