Photos: Lindsey Vonn slated for surgery in Vail after crash, but will she miss 2014 Olympics?

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Big photos below.
Update: Vail's Lindsey Vonn has made news of late for reasons that go well beyond her skiing skills -- like, for instance, her alleged dalliances with golfer Tiger Woods. But her massive wipe-out at the world championships in Austria has changed the narrative. She's now expected to return to Colorado for surgery, and while she's confident she'll be back in time for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, others aren't sure. Details, crash video and lotsa pics below.

As we reported below, Vonn, who's on the cover of the current issue of Outside magazine after topping its list of sixty "perfect" things, was competing in the Super-G at the world championships but lost control after a jump and smashed into a gate.

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Vonn's Facebook profile photo.
As a result, Vonn reportedly tore two knee ligaments (the ACL and MCL) and broke a bone in her lower leg (technically a lateral tibial plateau fracture).

Afterward, Vonn released a statement that reads in part, "I am grateful to my fans for the outpouring of support, which has really helped me stay positive. I can assure you that I will work as hard as humanly possible to be ready to represent my country next year in Sochi."

That won't be easy. Having more than a little experience with ACL injuries (my daughter has torn hers in both knees), I know that recovery takes a minimum of six months, but often considerably more than that -- and the additional MCL tear and bone fracture complicate things immeasurably, especially given the pounding Vonn gives her legs while competing at the highest level of her sport.

Add the fact that Vonn recently was on the shelf for a month with an intestinal condition that led to her hospitalization and you've got a challenge even Adrian Peterson might find daunting. After all, Vonn doesn't want the Sochi Olympics, slated to get underway approximately a year from now, to be her first time back on the slopes. Rather, she's targeting the World Cup speed races taking place in Lake Louise, Alberta, circa November/December.

What are her odds? Time magazine put that question to Dr. Jo Hannifan, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery who served as a physician for the United States Olympic Committee for the 2004 games in Athens. "The issue with injury and surgery is that things are never perfect," she notes. "And there's the psychological challenge. But I wouldn't think that would have much of an effect on her."

Indeed, Vonn isn't an injury novice, having hurt herself in competition many a time, including a training crash at the 2006 Olympics in Torino and notable tumbles in 2007 and 2009. And while her wounds from Austria are the worst of her sparkling career to date, Hannifan says, ""If anyone can do it, she can. She's really an astonishing athlete."

Here's video of her fateful Super-G run earlier this week, followed by our earlier posts.

Continue for our previous coverage, including Vonn's Outside magazine cover, an accompanying video and a photo gallery.


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14 comments
Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Not a question of whether she can or not. That maybe to soon. She needs to heal

Peter Dunn
Peter Dunn

Lindsay Vonn is the bionic woman. She's done it before and she'll do it again.

Mark Bixler
Mark Bixler

not with that amount of problems and recovery will hard due to how active she is.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

If Adrian Peterson can return to action following surgery & a year of rehab, then rush for OVER 2,000 yards & win the NFL M.V.P.,  there most certainly is hope for Miss Vonn to make the 2014 Olympic team !

Dan Foley
Dan Foley

Total bummer. I hope she turns out okay.

Dan Foley
Dan Foley

Total bummer. I hope she turns out okay.

RevBF
RevBF

Wouldn't dating tiger woods automatically disqualify her as a woman? If it is true maybe her and Rhianna could go on some super sweet double-dates.

But seriously I hope the crash wasn't too intense and she pulls through without serious complications. And...I hope the dating rumors aren't true.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

@Mark D Eilenberger    Tiger is a CHAMPION MANY TIMES OVER !!!

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@RevBF Your double-dating idea paints quite a picture, Rev. Thanks for the post.

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