Daniel Bryan may see his WWE absence extend longer than first anticipated, with sources saying his recovery from neck surgery could keep the wrestler out of SummerSlam.
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion underwent surgery earlier this month to treat a lingering neck injury. At the time WWE shared details, noting the he underwent a "minimally invasive microsurgical procedure known as a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root."
"The surgery was performed by world-renowned neurosurgeon and sports medicine expert Dr. Joseph Maroon," the report noted. "WWE.com was not able to get an official timetable for Daniel Bryan's return, but can confirm that the WWE World Heavyweight Champion is out of surgery and doing well, with strength already returning to his hands."
But now sources say that Daniel Bryan will certainly be out for Battleground on July 20, and is not certain to return in time for SummerSlam in August.
The WWE is already giving signs that Bryan will be out longer than expected. He was stripped of the WWE World Heavyweight title last week, taking away what would have been his title defense at the Money in the Bank event.
The shaky nature of Bryan's return could also be forcing the WWE to change plans for SummerSlam, Fansided noted. A report from Sean Ross Sapp claimed that the WWE will likely not schedule Daniel Bryan to face Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, and that Lesnar would instead face whoever holds the heavyweight title.
The extended recovery could be a blow to the WWE, which is hurting for superstars at the moment. John Cena is also out after suffering an eye injury, and CM Punk walked away from wrestling earlier this year after mounting injuries suffered over thousands of hours in the ring caught up with him.
To fill the void, there are rumors that former champion Goldberg could be making a return to the ring. The WWE also appears to be raising the stature of some other wrestlers, including Roman Reigns, but does not have another superstar the likes of Bryan waiting in the wings.
As for Daniel Bryan and his return to the WWE, the company is already beginning to advertise him for shows in mid-August, but not yet for SummerSlam.