Hetfield Rejoins Metallica After Back Injury

Ailing Metallica guitarist James Hetfield returned to the stage Wednesday night after missing three shows of the band's Summer Sanitarium tour due to a back injury.

Hetfield was forced to sit out the shows after suffering what the band's management called herniated and bulging discs in his back following a jet-ski accident on a lake outside of Atlanta (see "UPDATE: Metallica Frontman Forced To Sit Out Shows").

The frontman was back in the saddle for Wednesday night's show at Denver's Mile High Stadium, and he joined his bandmates for a two-hour plus set. While spokespeople for the band admitted that Hetfield didn't cover the stage with his usual speed and mobility in his return, they noted that he did not require the use of any of the stools that were placed onstage in the event that he needed to sit down.

Hetfield will now travel with a physical therapist for the balance of the Summer Sanitarium tour.

During the frontman's absence, other members of the Summer Sanitarium roster (which includes Korn, Kid Rock, Powerman 5000, and System Of A Down) stepped to the plate to help out Metallica on vocals.

If you want to see James back with his Metallica counterparts, here's how the rest of the Summer Sanitarium tour shapes up:

  • 7/14 - San Francisco, CA @ 3Com Park
  • 7/15 - Los Angeles, CA @ Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • 7/16 - Queen Creek, AZ @ Schnepf Farms