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Mikaela Shiffrin to miss next two World Cup races, encouraged by recovery progress

Mikaela Shiffrin said her recovery from a Jan. 26 race fall is progressing well, but she is not ready to compete in this weekend’s World Cup stop in Andorra.

Shiffrin sprained her left MCL and a tibiofibular ligament in her downhill fall in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

She was relieved not to have major ligament damage or any significant structural damage.

“I took a ton of stress to my whole leg when I crashed and stretched a bunch of things that are continuing to cause pain, although that is improving every day!” was posted on her social media Wednesday. “The fact that everything is structurally intact is super positive, but I still need to be patient.”

She is also still managing a bone bruise in the same knee from a November training crash.

Shiffrin will sit out this weekend’s World Cup giant slalom and slalom in Soldeu, Andorra. GS and slalom are her primary events. After Soldeu, the schedule has three consecutive weekends of speed races (downhills and super-Gs).

Shiffrin said she doesn’t know when she will return to competition. It will be dictated by how the knee reacts to reconditioning and training.

“I’m not quite at the point where I can really withstand the forces of slalom turns yet, but every day, the pain gets better every day,” she said in audio distributed by her team Wednesday. “My motion gets a little bit more solid, smooth, consistent. So it’s just kind of managing all of that together and trying to load as much as I can, but not overload.”

Shiffrin has a 95-point lead in the standings for the World Cup overall title over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami through 26 of 41 scheduled races.

The overall title is considered the biggest annual prize in ski racing, and Shiffrin is one shy of the female record of six overall titles set by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll in the 1970s.

Each race awards points. The winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through one point for 30th place. The season finishes March 23.

Before this season, Shiffrin said winning a female record-tying sixth overall title would “be the biggest accomplishment” of her athletic life.

Shiffrin has seven wins this season, extending her Alpine skiing World Cup record to 95 career victories.

“Of course there’s a lot at stake this season, and I feel that, but also feel like the next few seasons, there’s just a lot of opportunity,” Shiffrin said in Wednesday’s audio. “There’s a lot of important racing coming up in the next few seasons, and I want to be firing on all cylinders for those, so that’s really important to me to do this process right, and when I am able to get back to racing that I’m able to do it strong and securely and go for it.”