NASCAR champion Kyle Busch to have surgery later this month

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LAS VEGAS (AP) NASCAR champion Kyle Busch will have surgery this month on both the right leg and left foot he broke at the start of the season.

The Dec. 17 surgery is to remove a rod from his leg and plates and screws from his foot. Busch was injured when he crashed into a concrete wall the day before the season-opening Daytona 500.

He missed 11 races, but returned and reeled off a championship-winning season.

''I'm ecstatic for the opportunity to be cut open and have blood and guts all over the place again this offseason,'' Busch deadpanned Thursday. ''I am looking forward to the surgery. I'm looking forward to getting everything out and being able to go through the rehab to try to get back to somewhat normal and being able to not have pain every day and take the medication I have to take every day and all that.''

Meanwhile, Busch teammate Denny Hamlin is not in Las Vegas at the season-ending awards celebration. He had surgery this week to repair a ligament he tore in his knee playing basketball.