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Danell Leyva withdraws from World Championships team with shoulder injury

Danell Leyva

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 08: Danell Leyva of USA competes in the Mens Bar during the Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics at Commonwealth Arena on December 8, 2012 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

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John Orozco may be going to the World Championships after all.

Danell Leyva, nursing a shoulder injury, gave up his spot on the U.S. gymnastics team for the World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, from Sept. 30-Oct. 6. Leyva wrote in a letter that he pulled out to heal further.

“I very much appreciate the opportunity to be, once again, part of the team that will go onto the world stage and represent the United States in the great sport that is gymnastics,” Leyva wrote, according to USA Gymnastics. “Unfortunately, I have to decline. … We have decided that the right decision for me, to better help the team in the future, is to retract from this competition so that I can heal further and reach my full potential yet again.”

Leyva is the reigning Olympic all-around bronze medalist and world champion on parallel bars.

Leyva’s replacement on the six-man team will be one of the three alternates who were named Sunday -- Orozco, Paul Ruggeri or Eddie Penev.

Orozco, the 2012 U.S. all-around champion, would seem to stand a pretty good chance, not only because of his Olympic and World Championship experience, but also because he was the highest finisher in the all-around (fourth) at nationals out of the group.

Orozco struggled in the first of two nights of competition at nationals Friday, but he came back strong Sunday to rise from eighth to fourth. Orozco competed in a knee brace after tearing an ACL and meniscus in October.

What also helps Orozco’s cause is that he excels on the same events as Leyva -- high bar and parallel bars.

USA Gymnastics said the replacement will be determined in the near future.

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