Vonn has surgery; doctor optimistic for full recovery

Lindsey Vonn, of the USA, shown competing in the Super G  during the FIS alpine skiing world championships in Austria, had surgery Sunday on her right knee.
  • The four-time World Cup champion had right knee surgery Sunday.
  • Vonn vows to return for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi%2C Russia.
  • Picabo Street came back from similar surgery and won gold in the %2798 Olympics.
  • Lindsey Vonn had surgery on her right knee on Sunday after she shredded two ligaments during a crash last week at the world championships.

    The U.S. Ski Team said Dr. William Sterett, a physician for the squad, operated on the four-time World Cup overall champion at the Vail Valley Surgery Center in Vail, Colo., On Sunday morning. Sterett was optimistic of a full recovery.

    “The overall success rate for ACL-MCL surgery is very good,” Sterret said. “Modern surgical techniques combined with aggressive rehabilitation will help Lindsey make a full recovery.

    “She will do everything in her power to return as quickly as possible to competitive skiing.”.

    Vonn tore her the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments and also broke a bone in a lower leg during the super-G in Schladming, Austria.

    Vonn, 28, is hoping to be healed in time for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, which are a year away.

    Picabo Street came back the next season after reconstructive surgery to win an Olympic gold medal in 1998 in Nagano.

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    Sterett said earlier he wouldn’t set a return date to skiing for Vonn until sometime after the surgery. But other doctors believe she could be sidelined for up to eight months.

    That would give her time to get back to the slopes for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, which are a year away. Vonn said recently she intends to defend her Olympic downhill title from the 2010 Vancouver Games.

    She was hurt last Tuesday when was lifted into the air off a jump in the opening race at the championships. Upon landing, her right leg gave way and she spun down face first, throwing an arm out to protect herself. Vonn ended up on her back as she smashed through a gate.

    She received medical treatment on the snow before being airlifted by helicopter to a hospital in Schladming. A few days, later she flew home to Vail.

    This has been a difficult season for Vonn. She took a break for month from the World Cup circuit to regain her strength from an intestinal illness that struck in November. When she returned, she looked like the Vonn of old as she steadily regained her form and won two races last month. Her win in the giant slalom at Maribor, Slovenia, on Jan. 26 was the 59th victory of her career. She’s three away from tying the women’s record held by Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria.

    While her primary goal is to be ready for Sochi, Vonn ideally wants to be back for the World Cup speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, in late November or early December. She’s been so successful there – winning 14 times – that it’s become known as “Lake Lindsey.”.

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    Comebacks are hardly new for Vonn, who has been plagued by injuries at her last six major championships – from a thumb she sliced on a champagne bottle at the 2009 worlds in Val d’Isere, France, to a bruised shin that she treated with the unorthodox remedy of Austrian cheese at the Vancouver Olympics.

    Contributing: David Leon Moore.

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