North Dakota Gov. Burgum will participate in the GOP primary debate stage after injuring leg

MILWAUKEE (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he plans to participate in the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday after he was injured playing basketball on Tuesday and his campaign wasn't sure he would be able to appear on stage.

The Burgum campaign posted a photo on X, formerly known as Twitter, of Burgum entering the stage on crutches during a candidate walkthrough earlier Wednesday. “I'm in," he posted.

Burgum hurt his Achilles tendon playing basketball with members of his campaign staff on Tuesday and was taken to the emergency room. Campaign spokesman Lance Trover said earlier Wednesday that it was “unclear if he will be able to stand at the debate," set for Wednesday night in Milwaukee. The injury was first reported by CNN.

Missing the two-hour debate would have been a major setback for Burgum, who is the least known of the eight candidates expected to take the stage at Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee, home to the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team. The first debate of the GOP primary, which early front-runner Donald Trump has said he's skipping, is Burgum's best opportunity to introduce himself to voters.

Burgum, a wealthy businessman, qualified for the debate after offering $20 gift cards to donors who gave his campaign a $1 contribution — helping him meet a requirement for the number of donors set by the Republican National Committee for participation.

The governor, who's 67, had a hip replacement surgery in 2021.