SCHLADMING, Austria - Does a shredded knee just 12 months before the 2014 Winter Olympic Games take U.S. superstar Lindsey Vonn out of competition for more Olympic medals in Sochi, Russia next year?
Only time, a surgeon's skill, an elite athlete's capacity for healing and tenacity for rehabbing, and maybe some luck along the way, will tell.
According to U.S. Ski Team Medical Director Kyle Wilkens, Vonn suffered a torn ACL and MCL in her right knee and a lateral tibial plateau fracture in a crash at the World Cup race at Schladming, Austria Tuesday. She will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
The bottom line, is that a Vonn Olympic triumph in 2014 is not out of the question.
Vonn's idol, Picabo Street, who had the same will to fight back that Vonn has demonstrated, tore up her knee and required reconstructive surgery in December of 1996 - and, 14 months later, won a gold medal in the Olympic super-G in Nagano, Japan.
Street's injuries to her left knee were similar to Vonn's: torn anterior cruciate ligament, partial tear of the medial collateral ligament and a small fracture in her femur. Dr. Richard Steadman did the reconstructive surgery and predicted Street would be skiing by May.
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