Bob Seger still doesn’t know if the emergency back surgery that forced him off the road last year has ended his career. In the meantime, he’s using his recuperation period to prepare himself for writing new material.

He reported in December that doctors had told him to rest, while targeting a return to action in March, but as that month approaches, he remains unsure on how healthy he’ll be.

“I'm in the recover mode. The pain is down,” Seger told TeamRock in a new interview. “I’d say it's one out of 10, but it's constant. It's nagging, and unfortunately I can't sing or play or lift anything more than five pounds until it's gone. So it's difficult to work out or anything. I can walk, that's about it -- work with my three-pound weights a little bit, but not over my head. It's maddening. I'm just stuck here. I can't go to a show, I can't go to a game, that's it."

Seger noted he was told that there would be pain "for about three months afterwards, but the payoff is they didn't go anywhere near my larynx. They went in the back, so my voice is probably fine. I hope this pain goes away, 'cause they can never really guarantee it — and if it doesn't, then I'm done. But that's what the doctors have to say. I think it's gonna be okay, I really do. But, God, it's taking a long time.”

So he's been spending his recovery time by listening to some of his favorite artists. “Rather than waste my time and watch TV or something, I just listen to a lot of music right now," he said. "I'm going to keep drilling myself with music that I like and analyzing it — Why do I like this? Why do I like that? — and get ready for writing. That'll be the first thing I'll do, a little bit of writing, and then hopefully I'll have to start rehearsing for the shows. I really hope I'm not done.”

Seger’s most recent album, I Knew You When, came out last year and is dedicated to his late friend Glenn Frey. A lyric video for the title track was released last week.