His return drew mixed reactions in the garage.
Race car driving by nature is dangerous and every day on the job has its risks. Now Hamlin is coming back from a serious injury that not everyone would treat the same.
"This is how we make a living," Clint Bowyer said. "You've got to put food on the table and we're all in the same boat. We're all given a wonderful opportunity to get paid doing what we love to do, so anytime a racer is OK to get back in the car, he's going to do it whether he's sore or whatever the case is. We'd do it even if it didn't pay anything. It's just the nature of the beast."
Jeff Gordon, at 41 years old and the father of two young children, wasn't sure what his approach would be.
"You have to take yourself out of that and understand what the dangers are, what the risks are and if you re-injure yourself, can that be life-threatening or something that ends your career," he said. "I think for me, I'm later in my career and have a family and so an injury like what Denny went through, I don't know. I might not come back from that just because, is it worth it?
"For Denny, I think it's worth it for him to really take his time and do it right. What he's doing this weekend, to me that makes sense. It's Talladega, there's ways to avoid those incidents," Gordon said. "I'll be interested to see if he gets out or stays in there. If I know Denny, he's going to have a hard time getting out. Sounds like he is ready to go."