The surgeon who operated on Lindsey Vonn's right knee was "optimistic for a full recovery" after she shredded two ligaments during a crash last week at the world championships.
Bill Sterett, a physician for the U.S. Ski Team, performed the
procedure on the four-time overall World Cup champion Sunday morning in
Vail, Colo. In a release issued by the ski team, Sterett said the
surgery went well and that she was resting comfortably.
overall success rate for ACL/MCL surgery is very good. Modern surgical
techniques combined with aggressive rehabilitation will help Lindsey
make a full recovery," said Sterett, who's also a surgeon at Vail-Summit
Orthopaedics. "She will do everything in her power to return as quickly
as possible to competitive skiing."
Vonn tore her
anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments last week during the
super-G in Schladming, Austria. She also broke a bone in her lower leg.
said it was too early to issue a specific prognosis and didn't have a
return date to skiing for Vonn. 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. Shortly after her accident, Vonn
said she fully intended to be in the starting gate for Sochi to defend
her Olympic downhill title from the 2010 Vancouver Games.
28-year-old Vonn was hurt last Tuesday when she 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
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 an injury- and
illness-riddled season for Vonn. She took a month-long break from the
World Cup circuit to regain her strength after 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.
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."
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.