BOISE - Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, who missed a crucial month of last year’s legislative session due to hip surgery, leaving his agenda stalled with state lawmakers, today unexpectedly went in for shoulder surgery after a team roping accident.
“The governor zigged and his horse zagged; he caught the steer, but his shoulder didn’t fare well,” wrote First Lady Lori Otter in a letter to lawmakers and state agency heads. She said the injury occurred about three weeks ago, but an MRI on Friday found serious enough damage that surgery was ordered for today.
“Butch will be home immediately following the surgery,” Lori Otter wrote. “Physical therapy will begin Wednesday, and continue for 10-15 weeks. During this time, if you need to speak or visit with him on any matter, please call the office or Jason Kreizenbeck,” the governor’s chief of staff.
Last year, without warning, Otter went in for hip surgery on Jan. 29 and didn’t return to work until Feb. 21, when he came back part-time. Meanwhile, lawmakers rejected much of his agenda, including an ambitious plan to increase transportation funding.
Kreizenbeck, in an email to state agency heads, wrote, “We will be clearing the Governor’s calendar for the remainder of this week, but hope to ease him back into the office next week—which will probably be a welcome reprieve from his physical therapy.”
The governor’s rotator cuff surgery will be done on an outpatient basis by Dr. Michael Curtin of Intermountain Orthopedics. The first lady said Otter suffered a “severe rotator cuff tear, a rotator cuff tendon detached from the bone, as well as a detached bicep tendon.” The surgery had to happen right away, she said in her letter, “to avoid scar tissue and tendon atrophy.”