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Lindsey Vonn optimistic after knee gives out in downhill race (video)

Dec 21, 2013, 5:55 AM EDT

Lindsey Vonn said she didn’t cause greater harm to her surgically repaired right knee when it “completely gave out” and caused her to ski out of a downhill race in Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday.

Vonn appeared to lose her balance, briefly lifted her left ski off the snow and missed a gate, raising concern over her comeback from major knee surgery.

The Olympic downhill champion was well into her run when she was reduced to a glide toward safety netting. Once she came to a stop, Vonn leaned over. She grimaced and clutched her left knee, according to The Associated Press.

In post-race quotes, Vonn said she will take one or two weeks off with her main goal still Sochi, according to the official Val d’Isere event Twitter account.

“I didn’t hurt myself more than I’m already hurt,” Vonn said, according to the AP. “It was a small compression, and it was fully loaded on the right ski and my knee just completely gave out. I tried to pressure the ski again and it gave out again. I had no chance of making that gate, unfortunately.”

Vonn said she thought her next race would be “sometime in January,” according to the AP.

“I’m going to stick to a similar plan that I was on before. I just need to be more careful of how many races I do,” she said. “I’m at risk of doing more damage to my knee and my meniscus. So I’m going to play it safe and race really minimal races. Probably one or two before the Olympics.”

Here’s how The Associated Press described what happened Saturday:

She lost her balance and her left ski went up in the air, putting all her weight on her surgically repaired right knee as she skied off course. She didn’t fall but grimaced as she pulled up, clutching her knee in a worrying sign ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

Vonn, 29, was in the fourth race of her comeback from blowing out her right knee at the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.

She reinjured the right knee on Nov. 19, delaying her World Cup return to Dec. 6. Vonn placed 40th, 11th and fifth in three races in Lake Louise, Alberta, two weeks ago.

Vonn had said she wanted to reach a World Cup podium before the Sochi Olympics and that she might race a limited schedule to avoid risking further injury to her knee.

Vonn raced with a knee brace under her ski suit on Saturday and with boyfriend Tiger Woods watching near the finish.

Swiss Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden notched her first World Cup win in 1 minute, 47.28 seconds, on Saturday.

Reigning World Cup overall champion Tina Maze was second, .29 behind, for her best finish in 12 races this season.

Americans struggled. Leanne Smith was the best in 14th, followed by Olympic downhill silver medalist Julia Mancuso in 21st. Mancuso hasn’t finished better than 12th in 10 races this season.

Alice McKennis was 43rd out of 43 finishers in her first World Cup race since shattering her right tibial plateau into about 30 pieces in March.

Val d’Isere Downhill
1. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) 1:47.28
2. Tina Maze (SLO) 1:47.57
3. Cornelia Huetter (AUT) 1:47.80
4. Tina Weirather (LIE) 1:47.91
5. Lotte Smiseth Sejersted (NOR) 1:48.22
6. Fraenzi Aufdenblatten (SUI) 1:48.30
7. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 1:48.31
8. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 1:48.47
9. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:48.49
10. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) 1:48.56
14. Leanne Smith (USA) 1:48.79
21. Julia Mancuso (USA) 1:49.09
43. Alice McKennis (USA) 1:52.02
DNF. Lindsey Vonn (USA)
DNF. Laurenne Ross (USA)
DNF. Stacey Cook (USA)

Lindsey Vonn ponders World Cup career wins record

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