Broadcaster Alan Jones has avoided surgery and been cleared by doctors to return to work on Monday, a Macquarie Media spokesman told The New Daily on Friday.
Jones was admitted to Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital on Tuesday, suffering from severe back spasms that started after his broadcast from the Melbourne Cup on November 6.
He missed his 2GB and 4BC breakfast show on Monday and Tuesday. At the time, 2GB said their top-rating host would be off air indefinitely.
The hospitalisation coincided with revelations Jones’ bosses had disciplined the veteran announcer over a series of incidents this year.
The Macquarie Media board was unhappy when the station was ordered to pay Queensland’s biggest defamation payout of $3.75 million to the Wagner family for Jones’s comments linking them to the 2011 Lockyer Valley floods.
There was also controversy over his on-air use of the racist phrase “n—r in the woodpile” in relation to the Liberal leadership chaos that led to the departure of Malcolm Turnbull.
Jones also issued a rare apology last month, saying he regretted comments directed at the Opera House’s chief executive Louise Herron over her opposition to displaying ads for the Everest horse race on the building’s sails.
The 77-year-old, who read late US president Ronald Reagan’s autobiography in his flower and fruit-filled hospital room, denied his health scare was the result of stress.
“That’s just part of the ups and downs of life,” he said.
Jones had surgery on his back in November 2016 and several subsequent neck operations, which forced him off air for four months.
This time, propped up in bed on Wednesday, he told The Daily Telegraph that “the doctors have decided to medicate, not operate”.
He was hoping to be discharged from hospital at the weekend and be “back to the happy farm, in the studio, on Monday”.
Jones described the pain that laid him low, saying he was hit by “spasms that were like being attacked by a sharp knife”.
Jones said matters he had been giving thought to during his absence from the studio were why Scott Morrison’s government was lagging behind in polls and why it was hard to get a good cuppa in hospital.
“Standards have dropped … everyone is frightened to set a standard,” he concluded.
He also took time out to unload on the beleaguered Wallabies in a column apparently written from his sick bed.
Jones, a former coach of the national rugby team, claimed “this is our worst season of Test rugby since 1958” and suggesting a radical overhaul to Michael Cheika’s coaching lineup.