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Joe Gibbs Racing | Denny Hamlin cleared to race this weekend

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) is planning on starting the Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for his first race since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin has been cleared "just to start" this weekend, meaning he will drop back to the back of the pack and ride around until the first caution and then give way to driver Brian Vickers. He will collect all the points for whatever place Vickers earns just by starting the race. Hamlin is currently 71 points outside the top 20 in points. Hamlin will have another scan on his spine next week and must be cleared to drive at Darlington before making a full return. He will consider having surgery in the offseason to fix his injury and other back problems he's had over the years.

Fantasy Tip: Obviously, this weekend is not the time to start Hamlin on your fantasy team. Next weekend probably isn't, either, if he gets full clearance to race. It's safer to hold off and make sure he's completely healthy and at top form before throwing him back into your lineup.

2013-04-30 10:35:22 | Source: ESPN.com - David Newton

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