CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Aric Almirola has been advised he could miss up to three months of the NASCAR season with a fractured vertebra .
Almirola says he'll heed his doctor warnings and not rush his way back to a race car, which could take eight to 12 weeks. He also says doctors warned him that further injury could lead to paralysis.
Almirola suffered a compression fracture of his T5 vertebra after he crashed Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.
Regan Smith is substituting for Almirola in the No. 43 Ford at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the qualifying event for the All-Star race.
Denny Hamlin missed four races — and started but didn't complete a fifth — after suffering a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra in a 2013.