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Vonn not sure she can compete

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  February 10, 2010 07:55 AM

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American skier Lindsey Vonn revealed Wednesday morning on the "Today" show that she has a shin injury that could affect her participation and performance in the Winter Olympics, which begin Friday.

Vonn said her shin bruise is extremely painful because it is located at a point of contact with her ski boot. She could not give "Today" show host Matt Lauer an estimate -- in terms of percentage -- of how healthy she was entering the Games.

Later Wednesday, at a press conference in Vancouver, Vonn said she was unsure she'd be able to compete in the games.

"I'm sitting here today questioning whether, you know, I'll be even able to ski," Vonn said. "I have to play it by ear."

Vonn said she injured her right shin in a training run a week ago in Austria. It was diagnosed, she said, as a deep muscle bruise, and Dr. William Sterret, a doctor for the US ski team, told her it could take several weeks to heal.

Vonn is widely regarded as the top American athlete at the Games, and she was planning to compete in all five Alpine skiing disciplines at Vancouver. The first, the women's super combined, is scheduled for Sunday.

"I honestly don't know if I'll be able to do it," Vonn said.

The injury on the eve of the games is reminiscent of the 2006 games in Torino, Italy, when Vonn -- then Lindsey Kildow -- crashed during a practice run and was taken to a hospital. Pain medication helped her race, but she did not win a medal.

Vonn said she may have to limit her training runs, and she did not rule out skipping a race if she is not up to it.

“I’m a lot less sure about this injury than I have been in the past,” she said. “I’ve fought through injuries in the past. I’m no stranger to that. But it’s going to be really hard. I have to stay positive and do the best I can. That’s all I can do.”

According to the New York Times, Vonn has not skied the Olympic downhill course at Whistler yet because Canadian officials have kept it closed to all but the Canadian ski teams.

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