Kostelic injury worse than first feared

Croatian ski sensation Janica Kostelic underwent successful surgery to reconstruct badly torn knee ligaments, doctors said today, but her injury was worse than first feared.

Croatian ski sensation Janica Kostelic underwent successful surgery to reconstruct badly torn knee ligaments, doctors said today, but her injury was worse than first feared.

The 17-year-old Croatian, who was injured during a training fall in preparation for the weekend's World Cup downhill double-header in St Moritz, underwent a six-hour operation at a hospital in Basel on Saturday and had begun a mild form of rehabilitation therapy following surgery, said a hospital press statement.

The teenager had torn all of her ligaments in her left knee -the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and the medial collateral ligament - and ruptured the meniscus cartilage as well, the statement said.

Kostelic, the surprise leader of the women's World Cup overall standings, will remain hospitalized for the next 12-14 days, doctors said, and will be out of action for the next six months, possibly a year.

Kostelic hurt her knee after soaring off an artificial jump on the newly-reconfigured Corviglia course, landing precariously on her right leg before being thrown onto her back and into the safety netting.

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