James Hinchcliffe says he needed 14 pints of blood in ambulance

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

James Hinchcliffe says he's "ahead of schedule" after undergoing surgery following a brutal crash during practice for the Indianapolis 500 last month.

When the IndyCar driver will return to the track, though, remains up in the air. His team was hoping he'd be able to race by Aug. 1, but in a video interview with Sportsnet in Canada on Tuesday, he said he needs an additional surgery on his left leg before he can race again.

In the video, the Canadian driver also noted he needed 14 pints of blood after his left thigh was pierced by a broken suspension part and that the safety team stopped massive bleeding as he was raced to the hospital in critical condition.

"The blood [recovery] started in the ambulance," Hinchcliffe said. "From what I hear, they skipped the [track's] infield medical center and [drove me] straight to [IU Health] Methodist [Hospital] because they knew it was bigger than that. I think I had 14 pints of blood en route to the hospital, and the human body only holds 12, something like that, and then a bunch more in surgery until they were able to get in and get the artery fixed. Yeah, it was touch-and-go.

"My family and [girlfriend] hate telling the story of one of the doctors saying, 'He might not make it.' [He was] very casual about it. They were, 'Why would you say that?' So it was a very serious deal."

Hinchcliffe said he still has "good days and bad days" and needs another surgery on his left leg.

"The biggest thing we have to wait for is that surgery in determining when I get back in the car," he said. "When the accident happened, there was no way I was getting back in the car this season; it's just a fact. The way the recovery has been going -- just being a competitor and being an idiot -- has put that little dream in the back of your head: 'Maybe it's possible.'"

Hinchcliffe has been at home in Indianapolis recovering after the broken wishbone section of the suspension pierced the car's protective tub and wounded his leg.

Hinchcliffe's recovery period is officially undetermined, and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has been using a replacement driver during his absence.

He said he is proceeding cautiously but is encouraged with his recovery and was fortunate to be surrounded by a great medical team and friends.

"I'm feeling way better than I should be at this point," he said. "My recovery has been going very well. I'm ahead of schedule, which makes my doctor very happy. It makes them feel like they did something extra good, which they did. It's been awesome in that respect."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.