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U.S. ski team: Lindsey Vonn could return to World Cup next week

In this Feb. 20, 2016, file photo, Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, celebrates after placing second at a women's Alpine ski downhill race in La Thuile, Italy. (Alessandro Trovati / Associated Press)
In this Feb. 20, 2016, file photo, Lindsey Vonn, of the United States, celebrates after placing second at a women's Alpine ski downhill race in La Thuile, Italy. (Alessandro Trovati / Associated Press)
By Eric Willemsen Associated Press

ZAGREB, Croatia – Lindsey Vonn could make her World Cup return in Austria next week, two months after undergoing surgery on a broken arm.

The Alpine director of the U.S. ski team, Patrick Riml, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Vonn had resumed ski training in Colorado this week and that she planned to travel to Europe at the weekend.

“She had a couple of free runs yesterday,” Riml said. “Her coach Chris (Knight) is on the way to Colorado. They are planning on free skiing today and then decide on what’s possible, on what makes sense.”

A downhill and a combined event are scheduled for Altenmarkt-Zauchensee on Jan. 14-15, with more speed races coming up in Germany and Italy ahead of the Feb. 6-19 world championships in Switzerland.

“Maybe she needs more training, maybe she feels confident,” Riml said. “We are hoping that she comes back rather sooner than later, maybe it’s Altenmarkt, maybe it’s Garmisch, maybe it’s Cortina. It all depends on how things are going the next couple of days.”

The four-time overall champion, who broke her right arm in a crash while training in Colorado in November, hasn’t raced since fracturing her left knee during a super-G crash in Andorra in February 2016.

The knee injury hampered her preparation for the new season, and Vonn decided to sit out the opening giant slalom race in Austria in October in order to focus on speed races in Canada late November.

However, the training crash on Nov. 11 prevented her from competing again.

Speaking the day before a men’s World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Riml said: “Her time on snow in the whole prep period was very limited. We just have to see how her hand is feeling, how her whole body is feeling the next couple of days and then make the decision when it is the right time for her to come back.”

Another American standout, Julia Mancuso, was also planning her return to World Cup racing in January, probably in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, after sitting out last season following hip surgery.

Riml said Mancuso, a winner of nine medals at major championships, was set to join the American speed team for training sessions on the Turracher Hoehe pass in Austria this week. “Then we’ll have to see how she is feeling. She didn’t have too many days on speed skis,” Riml said. “She’s going into the training runs in Zauchensee, and then we’ll decide whether it makes sense for her to compete or not.”

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