AFP OSAKA (AFP-Jiji) — Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu said Sunday he needed 10 days of “complete rest” after damaging ankle ligaments and hopes to be back skating competitively in four weeks.
The injury, sustained on the eve of the NHK Trophy, is a big setback with just three months to go until he is due to defend his gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“I was told by my doctors that I am to have complete rest for 10 days. I hope to fully recover in three to four weeks, but this is tentative,” Hanyu said in a statement.
“I will work hard on my treatment and rehabilitation to be in time for the nationals [in December].”
The reigning world champion fell and twisted his right ankle while attempting the ultra-tough quadruple Lutz during practice Thursday at Osaka Chuo Gym.
He was able to skate off the ice and walk unassisted, but was limping. Shortly afterwards, he returned to the ice and resumed practice, but on Friday he withdrew from the NHK Trophy, which he had won for the past two years.
The national championships serve as the final trial to decide which skaters go to the Olympics.
“Truly, there is only little time left before the Pyeongchang Olympics. All I can do is whatever needs to be done in front of me and take one thing at a time,” he told NHK. “I want to return to the ice with the injury completely healed.”
In Hanyu’s absence, Russian Sergei Voronov grabbed his first Grand Prix win Saturday, while compatriot and two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva won the women’s event.
Voronov displayed soaring, dynamic jumps and spins to win with 271.12 points, fending off a challenge from runner-up Alexei Bychenko of Israel.
Medvedeva, 17, recovered from a early fall on a triple flip to maintain her lead from the short program and win with 224.39 points. Italy’s former world champion Caroline Kostner came an impressive second after sitting out two seasons.