The sad comparison Buddy Valastro made about his hand injury

Buddy Valastro used sports metaphors when talking about the brutal hand injury that's left him wondering if he'll ever bake again. "I want to be in the game. I don't want to be on the sidelines watching. You know, I'm not ready for that," the 43-year-old Cake Boss star said in a video clip TLC posted on YouTube from Buddy Valastro: Road to Recovery. TLC aired the two-hour special on Dec. 23.

The clip shows Valastro trimming a sheet cake and then spreading a thick layer of fudge over it. He winces in obvious pain, as he struggles to apply enough pressure to do the job right. "I was like a ninja with that friggin' knife, the way I could cut things," Valastro said, adding that it's been different since September, when the pinsetter in his home bowling alley impaled his dominant right hand in a freak accident (via People). 

Valastro has had at least three surgeries to repair his hand. He is in the care of Dr. Michelle Carlson, a surgeon whose talents are used to repair hand and wrist injuries in the NBA. "I probably got about 15 percent of the strength back," Valastro said. "I really can't squeeze or grip things too much."

Buddy Valastro doesn't know how well he'll recover from his hand injury

Buddy Valstro reached for another sports analogy to describe his condition in the TLC video clip, which cuts between an interview with the Cake Boss and his struggles to spread fudge over sheet cake. He is forced to switch to his left hand and can't quite finish the task. "It's kind of like an old boxer, who still thinks he can fight," Valstro said. "You got that will, you got the heart, but you don't got the tools right now."

Valastro's assistant, Mauro Castano, seemed concerned about his boss's recovery. "In the back of his mind, he knows that he can't do it," Castano said. "I know that he ain't moving like Buddy Valastro does." Despite Valastro's struggles, he remains optimistic that he'll be closer to full strength and back in action someday. 

"They say this healing process could take up to nine months to a year because they reconnected nerves and stuff, and you just don't know how they're going to grow," Valastro told E! News. "I'm starting to get back a lot of what I lost but I don't know if I'm going to be 60 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, hopefully 100 percent."

He credits his fans with inspiring him to continue in his recovery. "The fans and my family have been so good, cheering me on and supporting me," Valastro added. "It's pushing me to get better."