Shiffrin unsure how long she will be out | VailDaily.com

Shiffrin unsure how long she will be out

Pat Graham
AP Sports Writer
Mikaela Shiffrin hits a gate during a slalom at the U.S. Alpine Ski Championship in Carrabassett Valley, Maine last march.
Charles Krupa / AP | AP

VAIL — Over the next few weeks, Mikaela Shiffrin will slalom between rest and rehab.

Usually so fast on a race course, the Olympic and world slalom champion is taking things at a much slower pace as she recovers from a torn knee ligament and painful bone bruise. There’s no timetable for her return to skiing, either.

But there is some promising news: She won’t need surgery. Just rest. Lots and lots of rest after tearing the medial collateral ligament in her right knee during a wipeout while preparing for a giant slalom last Saturday in Are, Sweden.

when will she return?

“I know lots of people are anxious to predict when I might return to skiing and then racing, but we just don’t have any crystal balls,” Shiffrin posted Tuesday on Instagram. “I will work as hard as possible, take it week by week.”

Don’t write off her return this season just yet. There’s still a possibility the skier from Eagle-Vail, Colorado, returns to the slopes, maybe even for the World Cup Finals in March. Now that would be quite a birthday present for Shiffrin, who turns 21 in March

“Frankly, we have not talked about (a return) at all yet as it simply depends on how fast it’ll heal and you never really know with a bone bruise how long that will take,” Shiffrin’s manager, Kilian Albrecht, told The Associated Press. “You can only take it week by week first, and then day by day.

“Obviously, there is hope that she can return as the season is still pretty long. But unfortunately all of the tech races are now, which is not good as she will for sure miss a lot of the races.”

Shiffrin was hurt when she crashed during a free skiing session on the competition hill. Albrecht said she basically flipped over and into the net. She flew back to Colorado for more tests on her knee. Shiffrin announced Tuesday on her social media sites: “Good news from physician visit yesterday — no additional injury from what we already knew.”

What it means

She was considered the top contender to teammate Lindsey Vonn in the World Cup overall race, especially with Tina Maze taking the season off and defending champ Anna Fenninger sidelined with a knee injury.

That’s all but vanished for Shiffrin, who won the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and at the last two world championships.

Shiffrin was in the midst of a stellar start, too, winning the opening two slaloms in Aspen by staggering margins, including one by 3.07 seconds, the largest margin of victory for the women’s discipline in World Cup history. She also made her speed debut in Lake Louise, Alberta, this month and finished a respectable 15th during a super-G race won by Vonn.

“Thank you for the incredible support — I feel the love,” Shiffrin said.