Whistlers Michael Janyk, a member of the national development ski team, injured his knee during a FIS giant slalom race in Italy on Dec. 13.
Janyk started 31 st and had moved up to 10 th after his first run when the injury took place.
"The course had a lot of different terrain, and I hit a big compression that put me right back, I guess on my turning leg, and it just popped out," said Janyk, who flew back to Whistler on Saturday.
He damaged the cartilage in his right knee, and could be either three weeks or four months, depending on the location of the tear. Janyk wouldnt find out until he went in for surgery this week with Dr. Pat McConkey, one of the leading knee and sports injury specialists at the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre at UBC.
"Its kind of like a Catch-22," said Janyk. "If the tear is in a good spot, then they can stitch it up and Ill be out for about four months. If its not, then they take out the whole thing, and I can be back racing in three weeks. Ill be back sooner, but Ill have knee problems."
Janyk is glad that Dr. McConkey will make the call, not him, although given the choice hed rather have a healthy knee down the road even if it costs him the season.
"Probably 30 per cent of the top guys on the World Cup dont have any cartilage in their knees. If I was out there winning World Cups, I might feel differently," he said.
If he is out for an extended period of time, Janyk says he will probably use the time to take some courses while doing physiotherapy and recovering from the injury.
Michael, 20, is the younger brother of World Cup racer Britt Janyk, and moved up to the national team this year after strong showings on the Nor Am Cup and Pontiac GMC national championships last year.
He got off to a rocky start this year with a sprained ligament in October, and was just starting to feel strong again when the latest injury took place.
"Its frustrating. I havent injured myself since I was 13, and now Ive been injured twice in the same season.