Carson Daly Returns to Today Show 7 Weeks After ‘Hardcore’ Spinal Fusion Surgery: ‘It Worked!’

Today Show Carson Daly on Wednesday March 23, 2022

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Carson Daly

Carson Daly was back on the Today show Tuesday, seven weeks to the day he went under the knife to help fix chronic back pain caused by a snowmobiling accident decades prior.

Back in August, the broadcaster had what he called on Tuesday a “real hardcore” Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery, in which an intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

“It worked,” Daly told colleagues Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker and Sheinelle Jones of the procedure Tuesday, noting that he would have been back in the studio last week but had to travel to Los Angeles to shoot The Voice.

RELATED: Carson Daly Is on the ‘Road to Recovery’ After Second Back Surgery in 3 Months

He went on to thank his Today family for all their support during his absence, adding that he was feeling “great” now. “I’m 18 again,” he joked.

“It’s been quite the recovery,” the father of four also said. “I had some time to sit around and [rest]but it feels great.”

Still, Daly said “there’s a long road ahead” to him being 100%, explaining that recovering from the pain is just the beginning.

“I hope I get a chance to do a story on it because what I realize now is it’s like the iceberg effect,” he said. “This just isn’t a story about people who have back pain and how do you fix it; there’s a subtext underneath it all that’s very complex that so many of us have to deal with.”

“When you’re in pain and you’re looking to just feel good, that changes your relationship with food and drink and your life,” he explained. “And then when they fix the pain, there are these other complex areas of your life that you need to deal with and realign with. So when I say I’m getting better, I’m getting better in a multitude of ways which is great; which is really great.”

Part of his recovery process has been going on regular walks. “I’m the Forest Gump of Long Island,” Daly said. “I walk everywhere.”

The avid golfer will be back on the course soon enough too. “I can chip and putt at 13 weeks so I’m still another 6 weeks out from that,” Daly noted, teasing that he was planning to follow in the footsteps of championship golfer Tiger Woods, who had the same spinal surgery in 2017.

“I’ll probably get condo in Augusta, Georgia first, start visiting, and then I’ll start getting to the Masters in maybe 4 years.”

Carson Daly

Carson Daly

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Daly has long been open about suffering from chronic lower back pain. He first began experiencing pain when he injured his back in an accident in the ’90s, resulting in a T12 compression fracture.

His pain steadily increased over the years until July, when he underwent his first back surgery. Today cameras followed him before and after the operation to document the experience for a segment on the show.

“I feel actually better and I’m glad that I did it,” he said not long after the procedure. “It’s not a cure-all but it was a step in my journey that I think is going to help.”

RELATED: Carson Daly Says He’s ‘Really Optimistic’ After Spine Fusion Surgery: ‘My Future Is Bright Now’

Unfortunately, that procedure didn’t quite work out. So in August, Daly underwent an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion back surgery at L5 S1.

“I feel really good,” Daly said of his progress during a September check-in on Today. “I feel really optimistic. I feel like, for anybody who suffered from lower back pain for decades, you don’t realize how much pain you’re in until it’s gone. So I feel very optimistic about the future… My future is bright now!”

Carson Daly attends the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfront at Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Radio City Music Hall on May 16, 2022 in New York City.

Carson Daly attends the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfront at Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Radio City Music Hall on May 16, 2022 in New York City.

Roy Rochlin/Getty Carson Daly

according to TodayDaly’s accident happened while he was on location in Aspen, CO while working for MTV.

“At the end of one of the days of shooting, I was on a snowmobile being shuttled down by ski patrol, and we got into an accident,” Daly recalled. “I was knocked unconscious, and I kinda came to in the snow in a toboggan, really couldn’t feel anything below my legs, one of those really scary moments.”

At the time of the accident, doctors explained that his back was “structurally” unharmed and that pain management would be his only option. Because of a bad reaction to pain medication, Daly knew he would only use them as a “last resort.”

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At first, the pain he experienced from the accident was intermittent though grew more severe as time went on, the outlet reported.

Daly — who shares children Jackson, Etta, London and Goldie with wife Siri — said the pain started to affect his relationship with his family as he was unable to be as active with his children as he wanted. “I want to play golf, I want to wrestle with my kids. I want to pick things up,” he said. “I want to be better.”

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