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The severity of Randy Orton's back injury has been a cause for concern within WWE for various reasons.

Orton is well-liked by many in the company as he has turned his personal life around within the past decade. Orton is seen as someone who moves numbers and as someone who can be relied upon to execute whatever storyline plans are written for him.

Prior to his injury, there were big plans for him that would lead to a singles match with Matt Riddle. It's no secret that there were plans for Orton to immediately turn on Riddle back in 2021 but plans changed and the decision was made for the heel turn to happen at a later date.

In January of this year, WrestleVotes reported that WWE had plans for Orton vs. Riddle at last year's SummerSlam but the plans changed and the decision was made to hold off on the match until WrestleMania 38. Plans changed again and they were on track for a heel turn during the summer but Orton suffered the back injury in May.

WrestleVotes told Louis Dangoor at GiveMeSport that when Orton went down with the injury, the plan was for him to come back and "immediately turn" on Riddle.

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Keep in mind that all of these plans were in place before Vince McMahon stepped down so plans could change but if/when Orton returns, don't be surprised to see an immediate turn to set up their long-awaited singles match at WrestleMania 39. At this point there is no return timetable being given by WWE, but it would not shock anyone if he is cleared or expected to be cleared within the next couple of months. If that happens, then that could set the stage for a surprise return, perhaps at the Royal Rumble in San Antonio.