Question marks still hang over Liu Xiang's future after he wrapped up his trip to the United States yesterday without a firm decision on the foot injury that saw him hobble out of the Beijing Olympics without even attempting to defend his gold medal in August.
Liu was scheduled to fly home today after spending seven days in the US gathering second opinions from doctors there after Chinese experts recommended he undergo surgery, a drastic measure that China's 110m world champion hurdler and his coach Sun Haiping are praying can be avoided.
Liu posted a note of optimism on his official website ahead of his return to quell the fears of legions of Chinese fans.
"They (US doctors) were all optimistic," he said, without elaborating on whether he would proceed with surgery. "So I think (the injury) is not that serious.""
"First of all, I hope I can recover soon and get back onto the track. As I still dream of a brilliant future, I will try and heal as fast as I can."
Liu withdrew from his early heats at the Beijing Olympics due to a severe tendon injury and was seen hitting out in frustration as he left the Bird's Nest stadium then hobbling around the Athlete's Village in obvious discomfort.
Visits to doctors in Houston, Charlotte and Duke University confirmed the opinion that surgery would likely be Liu's best option and the athlete is expected to mull their advice in the coming days before arriving at a final decision.
"According to experts in the US, the inflammation was caused by calcification in his tendon and most of this can be eliminated by surgery," said Feng Shuyong, deputy director of China's Athletics Administrative Center, who accompanied Liu overseas.
"He should need about six months to recover," Feng was quoted as saying by Titan Sports.
"The final treatment plan will be decided when we come back to China and discuss the matter with more Chinese doctors," he added.
"We will proceed very cautiously to reduce any risk of things going wrong. The decision may take some time."
(China Daily November 6, 2008)