Prolific American skier Lindsey Vonn had been working her way back from devastating injuries after a Feb. 5 accident at the Alpine World Ski Championships before suffering another setback in training last week.
However, the 29-year-old icon expressed optimism about appearing in the Winter Olympics in an interview with Matt Lauer on The Today Show.
Vonn said last week's crash was more of a freak accident than anything else and that it wasn't a result of pushing herself too hard too soon, per a report by Scott Stump of Today.com.
If not for Vonn's knee brace, she said the damage sustained in the spill would have been far more severe:
If I hadn't had my brace on, I definitely would not have had anything left in my knee. It was one of those fluke-y things that sometimes happens. Unfortunately, it was really bad timing for me, but I'm still confident. I still feel like I have a lot left to achieve this season, I just have to kind of take it day by day right now, but I still have time before Sochi.
Stump reports that Vonn partially tore one of the surgically repaired ligaments from her Feb. 5 crash in Austria, where she tore her ACL and MCL and fractured her right tibia.
In addition to suffering the partial ligament tear in Colorado, Vonn also sustained a bruised shoulder blade and minor facial abrasions.
Rigorous rehabilitation is required for Vonn to get back into proper shape to make the medalist podium in Sochi, as the Games are less than three months away. However, Vonn is already talking about racing again as soon as next week's World Cup event in Alberta, Canada.
She discussed what sort of rehab work she's been doing to regain stability in the knee—which is the key to her return—but acknowledged that there is some uncertainty until she's actually flying down the mountain:
If things go well, I'll be racing next week. If they don't, then I'm going to have to reassess and kind of see where I stand...I'm feeling good from rehab. I feel stable. I put some weight on it yesterday as far as doing some weighted balance exercises and doing some squats and things like that, and it felt really good, so I'm very hopeful, but, like I said, I really don't know until I get on snow.
Vonn emphasized the clear difference between feeling stability in her knee when doing exercises and going at speeds of 80 to 90 mph.
The 2010 Olympic gold medalist and four-time overall World Cup Championships winner should have an excellent chance at emulating her prior success in Sochi as long as her health cooperates. It will be vital for her not to rush back into competition, though, given the severity of her past two wipeouts.
No one knows exactly how Vonn's knee feels better than herself, so here's to a speedy recovery and return to competing at as close to 100 percent as possible.