Bruised knee leaves Vonn’s status in question for Aspen |

Bruised knee leaves Vonn’s status in question for Aspen

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

VAIL, Colo. ” Defending World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn, of Vail, didn’t sustain any ligament or cartilage damage to her left knee after crashing Wednesday during a training run at Copper Mountain, according to an official with the U.S. Ski Team.

Vonn injured the knee when she took a tumble near the top of the course while training super G, but skied down the mountain on her own power. An MRI at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail revealed no structural damage to the injured knee.

“The initial report is that everything’s OK,” said Doug Haney, spokesman for the U.S. alpine team. “She suffered a bruise to her left knee. There’s no ligament or cartilage damage.”

Vonn was scheduled to train at Copper through the end of this week and planned to travel to Aspen on Monday to begin preparations for the Nov. 29-30 Winternational races on Aspen Mountain.

Vonn’s status for those two races ” a giant slalom followed by a slalom ” remains in question until further evaluation from doctors, which will likely be Monday.

“At this point, there’s no immediate decision on her return to training or racing,” Haney said. “She’ll get treatments for the pain and then they’ll tell her what the next step is. We’ll see how it heals.”

Haney didn’t see the crash, but related that Vonn told him it was a “fluke thing.”

“Just a routine training crash,” Haney said. “There were no ruts in the course or anything … Obviously, you never want to see an athlete getting injured, but just to hear that it’s a bruise is a positive sign.”

Last winter, Vonn became the first American woman to win the overall World Cup title since Tamara McKinney in 1983. On Saturday in Levi, Finland, she grabbed the early lead in this season’s overall chase when she earned her first victory in a World Cup slalom.

Vonn focused on her technical skiing this past offseason because slalom and GS have perennially been her weakest events and she saw an area where she could gain additional points in the yearly World Cup points chase.

Her previous World Cup victories all came in the speed disciplines, including a U.S. record 10 wins in downhill.

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