Gibbons to Have Surgery on Hip After Horse Fall

By: Scott Sonner AP Email
By: Scott Sonner AP Email

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Jim Gibbons broke his pelvis in two places when he was bucked by a horse at a private ranch in northern Nevada, and he was scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday, his spokesman said.

Daniel Burns, the governor's communications director, said he talked with his boss just after 10 a.m. and received an update from doctors around noon.

"He is coherent. He is laughing, though not a lot because it hurts to laugh," Burns told The Associated Press. "He is looking forward to a full recovery."

Surgery was planned sometime Wednesday at Renown Regional Medical Center, though the exact time was not being released, Burns said.

"His doctors also say his prognosis is very good and his injuries are non-life threatening and non-life altering," he said.

Burns initially indicated the 65-year-old governor had broken his hip, but he told the AP in an e-mail just before noon: "It's actually his pelvis. Broken in at least two places."

Any gubernatorial duties while the Republican governor is in surgery will be handled by Sen. Michael Schneider, the Democratic president pro tempore of the Senate, because Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is out of the country.

Doctors said Gibbons, a former five-term congressman who was elected governor in 2006, will be hospitalized at least until Friday. Rehabilitation will take about three months, which means Gibbons will be on the mend through the end of his term. He was defeated by Brian Sandoval in the June Republican primary.

In July, Gibbons became the first sitting governor in Nevada history to get divorced after 23 years of marriage to Dawn Gibbons, a former state assemblywoman who lost the GOP primary for her husband's congressional seat in 2006.

Burns said the governor was with his brother when the accident happened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday north of Pyramid Lake, about an hour's drive from Reno. The rugged, high desert hills and mountains around the lake served as the backdrop for part of the 1961 film "The Misfits," starring Marilyn Monroe in her last movie.

A former Air Force pilot and state lawmaker with a degree in geology, Gibbons frequently rides horses and regularly attends local rodeos.

"He was getting on the horse and throwing his other leg over it when the horse spooked and took off," Burns said. His foot was briefly caught in the stirrup, and the governor was kicked in the chest as he fell.

Gibbons was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Reno.

Burns said Gibbons was "looking forward to riding horses again, including that one."

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