Five Months After Horrific Goring, Matador Tries A Comeback

Back in October, we showed you graphic video of a Spanish bullfighter slipping and getting gored. The bull's horn entered his skull under his left ear and emerged from his eye socket. He was carried out of the arena gushing blood and screaming "I can't see."

Sunday, he steps back into the ring.

Blind in one eye and with a reconstructed face of metal and mesh, Juan José Padilla gets the Times treatment today, so naturally it goes big picture: the state of bullfighting in Spain. The sport is enjoying something of a resurgence, with restored television coverage and financial support under a newly elected conservative government. But if Hemingway's right, and it's just about the primal man vs. beast, then Padilla, with his blind spot and lack of depth perception, faces his own unique challenge.

But this is bullfighting, and it's impossible to view it with anything but mixed emotions. Marquis, the bull who gored Padilla, was never given a chance at recovery. Padilla says he's privately slain 10 bulls in the course of his rehab. So if you love animals, or at the very least think there's something iffy about killing them for entertainment, maybe this isn't some triumphant comeback story. You don't have to root for the bull, exactly, but you don't have to root for the man either.

Bullfighter's Return Stuns a Hardened Sport [New York Times]