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Mark Turner: Road to Recovery

Mark Turner from Fly
Larry Grenadier of Fly
Jeff Ballard from Fly

In the split second that he saw his left index and middle finger dangling, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner must’ve thought his very promising career had ended. “I work in my house with power saws and I was cutting wood for the fireplace,” he explains. “Sometimes the saw takes the wood into it … it’s just very powerful. And my hand went with the wood. The saw cut the tendons and nerves as well. It didn’t actually hit the bone but it was right there, so it severed them completely.”

The first doctor he saw at the emergency room on Nov. 5 of last year was somewhat dubious about the prospect of Turner regaining the use of his fingers. An orthopedic surgeon had a more optimistic prognosis-six to eight months and he’d be back in the saddle again. “I didn’t touch the sax for two months after the surgery,” says Turner. “For the first month I did physical therapy twice a week, then once a week for the second month. I did some acupuncture, too. And I had to do certain exercises for the first three months, every two hours, all day. After two months I started fingering the sax five minutes every few days and three months after surgery I began practicing maybe two hours every few days.”

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