Vonn's status might become clearer

Updated: February 11, 2010, 2:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Lindsey Vonn is expected to start in an Olympic downhill training run Thursday despite her bruised and swollen right shin, the U.S. Ski Team said.

Vonn is up on the mountain Thursday morning for course inspection and feels a little pain in her leg but is planning to ski later, the team said. Training started after a 40-minute delay because of fog and low visibility.

It would be the first time Vonn has skied since hurting herself during pre-Olympic training in Austria on Feb. 2. She revealed the injury Wednesday and said she was questioning whether she would be able to ski.

Thursday's training is the first for women at these Winter Games. Their first race is Sunday's super-combined.

In an interview Wednesday, Vonn's husband said she might wind up sitting out a race or two before healing enough to be able to participate in later events.

Vonn
Vonn

"It is entirely possible that she could race in all five events and be fine. It is possible, for sure. I would be very, very surprised if she didn't race in anything," Thomas Vonn, a former U.S. Olympic skier who acts as a coach and adviser to his wife, said.

Thursday's training run down the hill could provide all the data Vonn needs: Might she ski only part of the course? Can she tolerate the pain enough to even try skiing?

"We honestly don't know how it's going to respond," her husband said. "We potentially could get up there and she could say, 'OK, this works. I can do this.' And it could be not that big of a problem. Or she could get out there with the painkillers and she could say, 'There's just no chance.'"

Vonn, 25, has said the injury is so painful that it's a struggle to slip on a ski boot in her hotel, let alone ski down a slope.

If the Games had started three days ago, Vonn wouldn't have been ready.

"I hope I'm able to push through the pain and I'm able to still ski OK," Vonn said Wednesday. "I won't really know until tomorrow when I actually get on skis and they can actually assess the situation and see how bad it is."

To even get to this point, though, sure beats what she was thinking when it first happened -- that her Olympics might be over before she even took her first run.

"She went from being really happy, as well prepared as you can be for an Olympics, to just hitting the bottom really hard," Thomas Vonn said. "The day of the injury was a very tough day."

Vonn elected to skip getting X-rays when the injury happened, fearing it might reveal something more than a bad bruise.

"I pretty much stuck my fingers in my ear and just pretended like I didn't hear what was going on," she said. "I didn't want to hear that my shin was fractured. At the time, that's what it looked like."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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