It's been more than five weeks since Tony Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebrae when the ATV he was driving landed awkwardly while the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion vacationed with friends near the California-Arizona border.
Stewart, who has been at the track the past two weekends but continues to deal with soreness from his injury, will learn more about his future in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet on Wednesday when he undergoes a series of x-rays on his injured back.
"That's the first time since the surgery that we'll have an update, have a progress report," Stewart said during a news conference last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "But for a month now, I haven't done anything but just kind of chill out. The doctors want me lying in bed and walking. They don't want me sitting and standing. I'm definitely breaking the rules."
More from FoxSports
Although no timetable has been given for his return, Stewart hopes to get back behind the wheel of the car he co-owns as soon as possible in order to salvage as much as he possibly can of what will be his final season in NASCAR's top series. When he does return, Stewart also hopes that NASCAR will grant him a waiver that would make him eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup despite missing multiple races.
Last year, NASCAR waved the perfect attendance requirement on Kyle Busch but kept the requirement that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver finish the regular season in the top 30 in points to be Chase-eligible. A similar arrangement is expected to be made for Stewart, provided he returns within a reasonable timeframe. Busch missed the first 11 points races of last season with injuries.
"Whatever they decide, they decide," Stewart said. "I would like to think it's going to be similar to what they did last year with Kyle. The biggest thing I'm worried about is just getting this healed properly. That's my biggest concern, is just making sure that it heals right. I'm anxious to get x-rayed because I'm very curious about what the progress has been like for the last 30 days. ... The biggest concern is just making sure it heals right the first time."