The regularly scheduled Al Roker program has resumed. After three weeks off to recover from total knee replacement surgery, the popular weatherman was back at TODAY on Tuesday, May 30.
“I’ve got a new knee,” he told TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, adding that he feels “all good.”
Co-hosting the Third Hour of TODAY, he shared that “this was a more involved operation because they were taking a knee out and putting a knee in … but that said, it’s coming along well.”
Al, 68, had the same knee replaced over 20 years ago. On May 9, he underwent surgery; since then, he’s rested and regained his feet. He appeared surprised on the TODAY show last week, surprising his co-hosts in the third hour.
After having surgery, he returned to the studio for the first time on Tuesday. While he was out of commission, Al kept viewers informed via social media and video calls to the TODAY show about his progress in recovery.
Al uploaded a video of himself walking down the hall at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City on his new knee on May 10, one day after his operation.
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A total knee replacement alleviates or eliminates knee discomfort and increases mobility by replacing a damaged or worn-out knee joint with artificial implants.
Time to full mobility after surgery varies per patient, although HSS estimates that most patients can walk without a cane or walker by week six.
On May 15, Al gave an update to his followers and discussed the specifics of his surgery in a video call TODAY.
“Just been kind of hanging out,” he informed his co-hosts. To the surprise of many, I am “just chilling out, not doing anything.”
He said It’s stiff-
“On the call, Al clarified that he previously had knee replacement surgery on the same knee 23 years ago. This one is a little more complicated because it was what they call a revision. It was a replacement of a replacement, so they had to take stuff out, put new stuff in, so it was a bit of a bear.”
According to HSS, 15–20 years is the average lifespan for a total knee replacement before the patient needs another surgery (called a revision) to correct or replace the knee implants.
On May 21, Al’s wife, Deborah Roberts, updated fans on Instagram, saying that he was doing better but wouldn’t return to normal anytime soon because the revision was a “harder surgery.”
“It’s a little harder to snap back from, but he’s doing pretty well, moving slowly. She thanked Al’s followers for their concern and interest in Al’s well-being.”
On May 23rd, Al called on TODAY to update fans and show them an X-ray of his new knee.
Al told his co-hosts on the Third Hour of TODAY-
“I’ve had several body replacements. It’s not a big surprise, (but) this one has been the toughest yet because they had to remove the old one, which had some complications, and then put in a new one.”
“Holding up a photo of the X-ray on his phone for viewers, Al explained what went into his new knee. A hinge goes up into the femur down to the tibia, and then there’s a hinge in between.”
“They had to do a lot of work to get the old stuff out and the new hardware in. Plus, there’s a titanium cone for the bone to grow around.”
He said that with his knee hurting, he had been trying to rest and do outpatient physical therapy at the hospital. On May 15th, Al stated that he would physically rehabilitate for “a few months” or three days a week.
Al has maintained his dedication to walking throughout the past year, posting updates about his progress in the Start TODAY Facebook group. In May of this year, Al walked the Brooklyn Half Marathon, and by August of 2022, he had walked 10,000 steps for 200 consecutive days. In March, Al had his “best day ever” by walking 13,600 steps in a single day. Al’s recent total knee replacement is a substantial medical achievement.
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