Randy Orton's absence from WWE television this spring has been one of the most notable in the company.
At the same time, Orton's presence on SmackDown oddly hasn't been felt all that much since he was written off television to have surgery. Perhaps it's the return of Daniel Bryan distracting us, or perhaps it's the fact that Orton has become more of a part time wrestler in recent year.
Either way, one of WWE's top and most tenured stars has been absent and there's barely been a blip about it on television. However, the former WWE champion has a dedicated and strong fan following that is undoubtedly wondering when the Viper will be making his return.
Luckily for you, we have an answer.
Orton had surgery to repair an injury in his left knee last month. Orton had been suffering from a medial miniscus tear and underwent the knife to fix things. The recovery period for the injury was expected to be about two months, which should put Orton back in the fold in time for the build to SummerSlam.
Orton appears to be making a strong recovery as PWInsider notes that he has been spotted in Birmingham, Alabama lately doing some rehabbing work. Birmingham is typically where WWE stars undergo high level rehabilitation work, going back to the days of sending stars to renowned Dr. James Andrews.
Another star who had recently been spotted in Birmingham was Dean Ambrose, who is also expected back in the fold later this summer or early in the fall. Ambrose was spotted in Birmingham just before he moved on to Orlando to start working out at the WWE Performance Center, so Orton could be following the same timeline with an expected move to Florida to ramp up preparations for his return very soon.
Orton's last appearance in a WWE ring was at May's Backlash PPV event when he lost a match against U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy. Earlier in 2018, Orton had won the U.S. title at Fastlane in a match with Bobby Roode. He lost the title in a fatal four-way at WrestleMania 34. Following WrestleMania, Orton concentrated on winning the title back, eventually becoming number one contender and then losing to Hardy during the match at Backlash.