Texas Gov. Abbott to miss GOP convention after suffering severe burns

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will miss next week's Republican National Convention as he recovers from extensive burns sustained when he came into contact with scalding hot water -- meaning his state's large delegation to Cleveland will be without its chosen chairman.

Spokesman Matt Hirsch told The Associated Press on Tuesday that doctors said it would be "irresponsible" for Abbott to travel, including to the gathering celebrating presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Abbott, who took office last year, suffered what his office termed a "minor infection" after sustaining second- and third-degree burns on both legs below the knee and both feet on Thursday, while vacationing with his family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

He spent Monday night at San Antonio's Brooke Army Medical Center, and the following day "underwent a successful skin graft procedure," his office said in a separate statement.

But rather than returning immediately to Austin as planned, Abbott "will extend" his hospitalization to "allow for further healing and to ensure a prompt recovery," it said. There was no word on Abbott's up-coming schedule beyond Hirsch's confirmation that he won't be in Cleveland when the convention starts July 18.

The governor endorsed the Republican presidential bid of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, his former colleague at the state attorney general's office, but now says he will back Trump.

The injury caused Abbott to miss the visit to Dallas Tuesday of President Barack Obama, who addressed a memorial service along with former President George W. Bush for the five police officers killed there.

Exactly how Abbott scalded himself remains unclear and his office has declined to answer questions seeking further details.

The governor uses a wheelchair after a tree fell on him while he was out for a jog in 1984, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Despite that, Abbott has felt pain as nerve receptors in his legs and feet react to the shock of being burned, according to Hirsch.

Abbott was treated for several hours last week at a Wyoming medical center. Just as he was being released, he received word gunman Micah X. Johnson had opened fire in downtown Dallas.

Abbott defied doctors' orders not to travel then and headed to Dallas, where he held a news conference Friday -- but didn't disclose being burned. His legs were wrapped at the time, but that wasn't evident since they were covered by his pants.