Lars Sullivan has been out of action since June with a knee injury, which required the rising WWE star to undergo surgery. At the time, he was expected to be on the sidelines for six to nine months, but the injury appears to be taking longer to heal.
Citing Fightful Select, WrestleTalk reports that the 31-year-old will be sidelined until the summer of next year at the earliest, as his rehab is progressing much slower than WWE's medical team initially expected.
Prior to receiving the injury, Sullivan was being positioned as WWE's next dominant monster heel. His reign of terror saw him destroy Kurt Angle, the Hardy Boys, R-Truth, Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik, but his momentum was cut short just as he appeared to be on the verge of bigger things.
As well as receiving the injury, Sullivan was disciplined $100,000 by the company for a series of homophobic and racist posts that he made on a bodybuilding forum years ago. He was also sent to sensitivity training, but his troubled past didn't appear to derail WWE's storyline plans for him.
As documented by Wrestling Inc, Sullivan released a statement apologizing for his offensive comments.
"There is no excuse for the inappropriate remarks that I made years ago. They do not reflect my personal beliefs nor who I am today, and I apologize to anyone I offended."However, his misdemeanor didn't go unnoticed by the WWE locker room. As The Inquisitr previously reported, Big E revealed that he was very aware of Sullivan's past and blasted him over the remarks. The controversy also caught the attention of one of WWE's sponsors, who described it as "abhorrent." "The Freak" has been absent from social media since being ruled out action for the foreseeable future, so updates pertaining to his recovery process have been practically non-existent. The superstar appears to be taking a break from the online world, perhaps because he was subjected to criticism from fans after his old forum posts came to light.
Before moving to SmackDown Live, Sullivan was a standout member of the NXT brand. During his time on the show, he was a dominant superstar, but he never won any championship gold. However, due to his size, he was fast-tracked to the main roster after one year.
At the time of this writing, Sullivan remains a free agent following the recent WWE draft. When he eventually does return, it's possible that he could be sent to Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, or back down to NXT.