Cohen bows out of Skate America with tendinitis

Nov 10, 2009 - 12:10 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.(AP) -- Sasha Cohen's comeback has taken another setback.

The Olympic silver medalist withdrew from Skate America on Monday, saying she is still battling the tendinitis in her right calf that forced her to drop out of last month's Trophee Eric Bompard before the event.

"I have been battling this injury for a while," Cohen said in a release from U.S. Figure Skating. "After meeting with my orthopedic surgeon, it was determined that in order for me to fully recover, I should not compete this week."

As a reigning Olympic medalist, Cohen has a bye into the national championships Jan. 15-23 in Spokane, Wash. Though she said Monday she still hopes to compete there, she now would seem to be a long shot for the Vancouver Games.

The Americans have only two spots in Vancouver and a half-dozen contenders for them. Although Cohen did triple jumps and many competitive moves while touring with Stars on Ice the last two years, she hasn't appeared before judges. Her last competition was the 2006 world championships, where she won a bronze medal.

"I'm very disappointed I won't be able to compete in Lake Placid," Cohen said. "I've been going to physical therapy and training with every intention of being healthy and ready for this competition."

But Cohen can never be counted out, said her longtime former coach, John Nicks. There are still 10 weeks before nationals, plenty of time for her to get healthy and ready for competition.

"Some parts of her skating look absolutely wonderful. And there are still some weaknesses," Nicks said. "If she stays healthy and stays with the same enthusiasm - because she's very enthusiastic about nationals when she talks to me about it - I think she's going to do well."

Cohen is still coached by Rafael Arutunian, but has been working at her old rink recently to be closer to her doctors and physical therapists.

Cohen will be replaced by 2006 Olympian Emily Hughes at Skate America, which begins Friday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Cohen's withdrawal is a blow for event organizers and U.S. skating.

Though she hasn't skated in three years, Cohen is still hugely popular, and her announcement in May that she was returning for a go at Vancouver gave the struggling Americans some badly needed buzz. The United States has been searching - unsuccessfully - for a breakout star since Cohen and Michelle Kwan stepped away from the sport in 2006.

"She's a very interesting part of ladies figure skating, and has been for many years," Nicks said. "And I think we need interesting people in the sport these days."

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