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Missy Franklin (back) in doubt for Pan Pacific Championships

Aug 20, 2014, 5:08 AM EDT

Missy Franklin could miss the biggest swim meet of the year with a back injury.

The four-time Olympic champion suffered back spasms at practice Tuesday, two days before the Pan Pacific Championships open in Gold Coast, Australia. Her status for her first events Thursday will be determined before preliminary heats that morning (Gold Coast is 14 hours ahead of Eastern time).

Franklin at first allayed fears Tuesday on Twitter.

But video from Sportsnet in Canada showed Franklin being gingerly helped away from the pool.

Pan Pacs men’s preview | women’s preview

Franklin, who became the first woman to win six gold medals at a single World Championships last year, was not present for practice or a press conference Wednesday. She was to be re-evaluated throughout Wednesday, USA Swimming said.

Later Wednesday, USA Swimming said Franklin tested her back swimming in a local pool with “minimal discomfort” and said back spasms were not previously a factor for her.

“It was very therapeutic and felt great being back in the water,” Franklin said in a press release. “I am feeling drastically better every hour that goes by and hoping and praying that I will be ready to race [Thursday]. We will consistently coordinate with team doctors and staff to make the best decisions for myself and my team.”

Franklin, a 19-year-old rising sophomore at California, was entered in the 200m freestyle and the 100m backstroke on the opening day of competition Thursday.

Michael Phelps takes on vocal leader role in Australia

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