Bode Miller will undergo back surgery, miss Birds of Prey
AP Sports Writer
Never one to let a little pain get in his way, the hard-charging Bode Miller tried to ski through a balky back until it simply became too much.
Miller will undergo outpatient surgery on Monday in San Diego and is expected to be sidelined until at least January.
The 37-year-old Miller missed the start of the World Cup season because of a herniated disk, which he said has been bothering him since a fall at the World Cup Finals last March.
While training in Copper Mountain, Colorado, last week, Miller said he was hoping to manage the pain any way possible and avoid surgery at all costs.
“I am disappointed that I will miss some of the early season speed races,” the two-time overall World Cup champion from Franconia, New Hampshire, said in a statement Monday. “But the procedure will alleviate the pain and discomfort I have been fighting in my back since World Cup Finals last year.”
Known for his high-risk, high-reward style of skiing, Miller returned last season from a year off to recover from knee surgery. He captured bronze in the super-G at the Sochi Games, the sixth Olympic medal of his career.
Given his aggressive nature, this sort of injury was just a matter of time, he recently said.
“My back is always a concern,” he said. “It’s been a different issue each year.”
His crash in a training run at the World Cup Finals last season actually helped re-align one of his bothersome disks, but “detonated” the one below it.
“It’s putting a lot of pressure on the nerve,” he said. “It’s a little bit more compressed and harder to manage.”
Miller hopes to resume training in January and be in the starting gate for the world championships in Beaver Creek in February.
“His return to training will be based on the extent of the surgery,” Kyle Wilkens, the U.S. Ski Team medical director, said in a statement Monday. “We’ll work with Bode, medical team, and his coaches to determine the best course of action for him.”