BTS' Suga Can't 'Raise My Arms' or Perform Months After Shoulder Surgery: 'I See Emptiness'

BTS star Suga is still coping with complications due to an injury he sustained nearly five years ago and underwent surgery for in November.

Because of his dislocated shoulder, Suga (né Min Yoon-gi) has been excluded from the group's recent appearances in promotion of their latest album BE — which would ideally feature the full septet of global superstars. Instead, the band has been reduced to a sextet because of Suga's limited mobility with his shoulder. The singer was not able to participate in 2020 performances including December's Melon Music Awards, the annual SBS Gayo Daejeon Festival and The Disney Holiday Singalong.

"The pain is one thing, but when my shoulders got worse, I couldn't even raise my arms," the 27-year-old told Weverse Magazine, adding that he also feels emotionally drained given his current circumstances.

"I could see the emptiness [onstage] because we've been together as a group of seven for so long," he said. "Not necessarily because I'm not there, but because something that should be there is missing."

Much to his dismay, Suga told the outlet, "Apparently, it takes several months for a full recovery. But, I'm trying to get better as fast as possible." And he remains optimistic, "I think it'll get even better once I take off this brace."

However, in advanced 2020 fashion — a cyber version of Suga (much like a hologram) has appeared in a COVID-19 compliant, virtual show. His digital appearance may have come as a surprise to fans who have been following the star's updates concerning his limb. He gave Wework Magazine some fun behind-the-scenes info about "his" "Life Goes On" performance during the Mnet Asian Music Awards, which took place on Dec. 6. The singer recalled how the "Fake Suga" (he dubbed with a laugh) came to be: "There's this 3D studio where we shot it. I shot, scanned and acted there, but [I] couldn't see the actual result at the studio. I thought a sense of displacement was unavoidable and that was exactly the case."

Per a 2018 episode of Burn the Stage, Suga's taxing ordeal began after he was involved in a vehicle accident while working as a delivery boy trainee, "after being hit by a car. His shoulder dislodged. He didn't tell [his label] Big Hit [Entertainment] because he wasn't supposed to be working. But when they found out, they helped him recover."

The incident may have been as early as 2016, when he addressed his medical plight in his solo song, "The Last."  Translated to English, he sang, "My shoulder which shattered /  Thanks to the accident I met / During my part-time job."

In 2019, Big Hit Entertainment revealed that he was diagnosed with a "posterior labral tear of his left shoulder," which means the cartilage around his shoulder joint was torn. The label also announced last year that Suga's Nov. 3 surgery to repair his shoulder labrum was successful.  Adding a personal comment to the official statement, Suga said, "Please understand this time [is] my chance to prepare to meet you again strong and healthy. Even if I must be away for a short while, please wait for me to come back to you."

It is still unclear when Suga will be able to perform again, but Big Hit said last year that he would begin physical therapy shortly after his successful procedure.

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