Aliya Mustafina to have ACL surgery

Updated: April 9, 2011, 3:37 PM ET
Associated Press

BERLIN -- Reigning world gymnastics champion Aliya Mustafina will have surgery Tuesday to repair a torn ACL.

The Russian team initially thought Mustafina had injured her meniscus when she landed awkwardly on a vault during the all-around competition at the European championships Friday. But tests showed she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, according to her official website.

Mustafina grimaced when she landed her vault, staying upright long enough to salute the judges before crumpling to the ground and grabbing her knee. She had to be carried off the mat and was taken out of the arena in a wheelchair.

It is not known how long Mustafina will be out. The world championships, which also are the main qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics, are in October.

Mustafina's injury could be a big blow for Russia, which had its best showing in almost 20 years at last fall's world championships. Led by Mustafina, the Russians won the team competition for their first major title since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

She added four more medals, including the first all-around gold by a Russian woman since 2003.

Russian Elena Dementyeva won the European title after Mustafina was injured.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press