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Park City, UT, Nov. 19–Alex Shaffer (Park City, UT) and Katie Monahan (Aspen, CO), who capped their best season by winning two gold medals each at the 1999 Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships, are sidelined indefinitely after knee surgery, the U.S. Ski Team said. Shaffer was injured in a fluke mid-race mishap in the opening World Cup race of the season while Monahan was injured in training.
In addition, slalom specialist Tasha Nelson (Mound, MN) is recovering at home after spraining her left ankle. She is expected to be off skis for a month, possibly returning by the end of December, according to women’s Head Coach Marjan Cernigoj.
Shaffer and Monahan are suffering from a similar and somewhat unusual injury. Both are suffering from a condryle lesion – where the protective surface has broken away (or chipped maybe) from the bone. They have undergone microfracture surgery to stimulate healing in the area. While the injury is not traumatic, it takes time to heal. Shaffer returned home after surgery last week by U.S. Ski Team surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo. Monahan, who was operated on by Dr. Mark Purnell, also is recuperating at home.
Shaffer, the slalom and giant slalom champ from the U.S. championships in March, suffered cartilage damage Oct. 30 in the opening women’s GS in Tignes, France.
Monahan also won two gold medals at the ’99 Chevy Truck championships – in super G and combined – and after her best World Cup finish (third in super G at St. Moritz, Switzerland). She will miss this season because of surgery on her right knee, Cernigoj said.
Her injury was similar, but more serious, cartilage lesion, suffered during preseason training in Switzerland in October; Monahan underwent surgery three weeks ago. Cernigoj said the injury proved to be more serious than originally thought and Monahan will be off skis for up to six months.