STA, 26 February - Women's downhill world champion Ilka Štuhec, who is out for the season with injury to both of her knees, has announced on Instagram that she does not need surgery, as initially believed. It is not yet known when she will return to skiing, but it will definitely be earlier than in the case of surgery.
The injuries happened last Saturday as Štuhec competed in the downhill World Cup race in Crans Montana. She crashed into the protective fences on the course, but managed to get up herself and get to the finish line.
See the accident here
Her team decided to have her checked at the local hospital, with the initial tests showing she suffered a posterior cruciate ligament tear in the left knee and a bruised right knee.
The injuries ruled her out for the remainder of the season and it was initially believed that she would require a surgery.
But the 28-year-old from Maribor announced on Instagram today that the "outcome is not that bad as first thought. Torn PCL, but I can make it without surgery."
The announcement comes after Štuhec was examined in Basel by Niklaus Friedrich, the doctor who already performed surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee in the past.
Her team later explained that it was actually a partial tear of the PCL in her left knee, while the ACL, which she tore in September 2017 to miss out the entire 2017/18, was undamaged.
Surgery is not planned for the time being, but it will be required if the knee does not respond to the more conservative approach, the team added.
"A new examination is scheduled in Basel in 14 days, and it will be known in a month whether the rehabilitation is progressing as planned."
The team quoted Štuhec saying that she needed to accept the situation. "I have proven to myself many times that I can return after an injury and the plan is the same also this time."
No surgery means that she will return to skiing much earlier than if she needed one, when rehabilitation would take at least nine months.
The injury came as Štuhec made a comeback after missing the Olympic season, winning the World Cup downhill and super-G in Val Gardena in mid-December and defending her gold in the downhill at the recent world championships in Sweden's Aare.