Kostelic Tears Ligament

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St. Moritz, Switzerland, Dec. 16 (AP)--Janica Kostelic, the 17-year-old Croatian skiing sensation, was sidelined for the rest of the season after she tore a ligament in her right knee during a training run today.

The surprise leader in the overall women's World Cup fell as she was preparing for the downhill. She was taken by rescue sled to a hospital. The Gut Klinik said she was hospitalized there with a serious knee injury.

Race organizers issued a statement saying that Dr. Adrian Urfer, the chief physician at the clinic, diagnosed it as ``a complex knee injury.''

Kostelic tore the anterior cruciate ligament and may have damaged the posterior one as well, the statement said. Kostelic will undergo an MRI exam Friday to determine the full extent of the injury.

Urfer said Kostelic, was in ``great pain'' during the examination, according to the statement. Her father was with her.

It was the second time this season that a leading woman skier sustained such an injury. Alexandra Meissnitzer, the overall World Cup winner last winter, fell last month during training for the Super-G in Lake Louise, Canada.

And it was the second time in less than a week that Kostelic has taken a spill. She bruised her hip in training last weekend before going on to win the slalom Sunday in Sestriere. She also won the slalom in Serre Chevalier the week before.

Copyright (c) 1999 The Associated Press

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