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Canadian Olympic slalom skier Spence undergoes knee surgery

The Canadian Press

4/2/2012 1:17:33 PM

CALGARY -- Canadian Olympic skier Brad Spence has undergone surgery to fix a chronic knee pain that has slowed down the slalom specialist.

The 27-year-old from Calgary battled through the nagging injury to put together a consistent 2011-12 season that included nine top-30 World Cup finishes. But the knee complaint got progressively worse towards the end of the year.

"This year it became pretty apparent that it was something I had to do," Spence said in a statement Monday. "The pain was so bad, the knee was giving me so much grief, that I couldn't do my job. The (problem) had been there for a year and a bit. I kind of knew it was going to have to happen."

Spence had the microfracture surgery, which is used to repair damaged cartilage, performed in London, Ont., by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bob Litchfield.

He is expecting to be on crutches for around six weeks but the timeline for his return to snow is less certain.

"Everyone keeps saying there's not really a protocol (for time out)," said Spence. "It depends on the individual. It could be anywhere from four to 12 months to be back going full bore. I'm not going to push it faster than anybody recommends."

Spence says the knee problem was an issue he had to face in order chase down his career goals, which include a trip to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games.

"I'm definitely not putting any time frames on my career. I want to do it as long as I'm successful and it's fun," he said. "This, for sure, is going to buy me a couple of years through to Sochi."