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Liu Xiang sidelined for six months
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Liu Xiang arrives in Shanghai August 27.

Liu Xiang arrives in Shanghai August 27.

Medical treatment to hurdles hero Liu Xiang, who was forced from the Beijing Olympic Games with an achilles tendon injury, will last at least half a year.

Though not threatening his career immediately, achilles tendon injuries tend to recur and may make it harder for the Chinese 110m-hurdles star to improve his performance.

Liu and his coach Sun Haiping returned to Shanghai last Wednesday. He was given a thorough examination by experts at the Huashan Hospital who confirmed that Liu had suffered an injury to his achilles tendon, an injury common to athletes specializing in field events.

Yang Peigang, the dean of the Shanghai Track and Field Administrative Center, said treatment would be decided in the next month and would ultimately be approved by the General Administration of Sports of China.

"Whether it uses Chinese tradition medicine or Western medicine, we will list it as possible as long as it is practical," Yang said, declining to comment on rumors that Liu would fly to the United States for treatment this month.

One of the experts involved is Chen Shiyi, the dean of the Sports Medical Center with the Huashan Hospital and he has invited US expert James Tasto to help. Tasto is an internationally recognized surgeon in arthroscopy and sports medicine.

"The direct reason for Liu having to pull out of the Games was serious pain in his Achilles tendon. The inflammation and swelling made it impossible for Liu to have a pain-killing injection and finish running," Chen said. "There are no effective treatments for this injury so far."

Recovery is likely to take six months to a year and will only be achieved with close cooperation between the coach, the athlete and the doctors, he added.

"If all other efforts fail, surgery may be a final solution. But anyway it will take more than six months for this injury to heal," the expert said.

(Shanghai Daily September 4, 2008)

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