Randy Orton has seemingly been on and off television quite a bit for the last several years, and it appears one of the reasons for that might be more serious than previously known.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Orton has been working through a serious neck condition. He was originally diagnosed with the issue a few years ago and it sounds like it has resurfaced.
"A few years back his (Orton's) doctor told him he would need neck surgery which would have kept him out of action for a year, but later got a second opinion from another doctor who said he didn’t need the surgery,” Meltzer said (via TalkSport).
Neck injuries have been a theme in wrestling over the years, with several top stars being permanently sidelines from them, including Steve Austin, Edge, and most recently Paige. Sheamus is currently out of action with a bad neck.
Orton will turn 40 years old next year, so of course at this point in his career he doesn't want to do anything that would jeopardize his long term health. Orton has been a mainstay with WWE since debuting with the main roster in 2002 and is a multiple-time world champion. There's little doubt he will one day be in the WWE Hall of Fame.
SmackDown this week did feature Orton in action as he took part in a six man tag team match alongside Samoa Joe and Elias against The New Day. Orton pinned WWE Champion Kofi Kingston in the bout and appears primed to perhaps re-enter the WWE world title picture.