- Associated Press - Saturday, April 20, 2013

KANSAS CITY, KAN. (AP) - Michael Annett is getting closer to returning to Richard Petty Motorsports after a devastating crash in the Nationwide Series race at Daytona in February left him with a broken sternum.

Petty said this weekend at Kansas Speedway that Annett has been slowly recovering his injuries, and that the team wouldn’t risk his recovery by rushing him back to the track.

“Physically, he can do it. We’re just waiting on the doctors to OK him,” Petty said. “He’s chomping at the bit, and we are too, but we don’t want to get ahead of it.”

Annett had surgery shortly after the wreck to put a plate in his chest, and has said that he could hop into the car right now if everything went well. But it’s when things don’t go well _ if he gets in another wreck, for example _ that he’s not sure how the injury would react.

Annett is in his sixth season in the Nationwide Series, and although he’ll still be chasing his first win when he gets back to the track, he’s coming off the best season of his career. He had six top-five finishes and finished fifth in the points standings.

Petty likened the injury to Annett to a concussion in that it’s possible for drivers to return before they’re fully healed, and that rushing back can lead to more problems down the road.

“They just want everything healed good in case he comes back and takes a lick,” Petty said.