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Injured Zhang on Road to Recovery
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Chinese pairs skater Zhang Dan, who won a silver medal in the Turin Olympics, is expected to make a full recovery with two weeks. 

Chinese pairs skater Zhang Dan's fall looked a lot more gruesome than it really was.

The silver medalist was walking without crutches or a limp on Thursday, three days after the fall, and a Chinese team physician said he expects her to make a full recovery within two weeks.

Dr Ji Chunnan said Zhang Dan has a mild sprain of one of the posterior cruciate ligament in her left knee and some swelling.

"The injury will not affect my future in competition," Zhang Dan said on Thursday. "The ligament on the left leg is a little bit sprained."

Zhang was hurt in Monday night's free skate when she and partner Zhang Hao were attempting an unprecedented throw quad salchow.

She touched down awkwardly on her right foot, her ankle caving toward the ice, and then her left leg came down in a froglike split. She spun into the sideboards as the crowd gasped in horror.

With the fans clapping in support, the referee allowed it, and Zhang and Zhang nailed every element in the final four minutes to seal the silver medal.

Zhang Dan was examined by doctors at the Palavela after the medals ceremony. She went to a local hospital on Tuesday, where Ji said X-rays, an MRI and an ultrasonic check showed there was no serious injury or muscle damage.

She is getting ice and is supposed to stay off of her feet. Accupuncture might be done if Zhang is still feeling pain this weekend, Ji said.

The duo plans to go to next month's world championships, where they will be favored to win the title now that gold medalists Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin have retired.

Less certain is the future of bronze medalist Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, who came to the Olympics only six months after he tore his Achilles' tendon. Asked what his plans were, Zhao Hongbo said, "I really want my left foot to take a good rest.

"We are not considering our retirement here," He said. "We will talk about it when we return to China."

If Shen and Zhao don't compete, Chinese coach Yao Bin said no one would replace them. "They will decide by themselves, we will not decide for them," Yao said. "The other two teams will definitely go."

(Shanghai Daily February 19, 2006)

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