There has been very little information on the status of IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi, who suffered a serious injury at the NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco back on July 7th.

The Los Ingobernables star took a nasty bump on the back of his neck after a botched manuever from his long-time rival Dragon Lee, a member of the CMLL roster who has made several big appearances for both ROH and NJPW in recent years. After reportedly collapsing backstage after the match, Hiromu was taken to the hospital, and while the extent of the damage was unknown it was serious enough that he remained in the U.S. for some time before being able to make the trip back to Japan.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Hiromu did indeed suffer a broken neck during his match with Dragon Lee. The good news is that there was no nerve damage, which is the key factor that has shortened the careers – and in some cases ended the careers – of other wrestlers who have suffered similar injuries.

Dave Meltzer is reporting that New Japan doctors believe Hiromu’s current timetable for return is 9-12 months. Because there was no serious nerve damage, it’s really just a matter of the bones mending and waiting for his neck to be strong enough to take bumps. Right now he’s probably looking at 6 months before he can get back to training and doing anything overtly physical.

The problem with guys like Takahashi and many of the other top tier juniors stars, in Japan or otherwise, is that the style they’re working just to stay on top in 2018 is becoming increasingly dangerous. While the move Dragon Lee botched wasn’t necessarily that bad, there were plenty of other potentially scary spots in that match alone where things could have gone wrong. Even when they don’t go wrong, he’s still taking a lot of hits to his neck, sometimes at awkward angles.

It’s possible that in 12 months if everything goes perfectly and he does all the right rehab without rushing too quickly back into the ring, Hiromu’s neck could go back to 100% and he could be back to working the same style of matches. Knowing the kind of talent he is, much like Will Ospreay has been both praised and criticized for recently, he’ll want to keep going all-out every single match, regardless of the toll on his body, because he feels he owes the best performance possible to the fans. But after a break the neck is never truly going to be 100%, not in wrestling anyways.