Injury forces Chan to miss skating opener

Canadian figure skating champion Patrick Chan has run into a minor setback in his preparation for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

The 18-year-old Toronto resident will not be skating in next week’s season-opening competition in Moscow due to a torn left calf muscle.

“I started getting calf pains,” Chan told the press on Thursday.

“It just slowly got worse and worse. I got them treated, got them looked at. No one really found the problem with my calf until I came home recently, on Wednesday.”

His withdrawal from next week’s competition is mostly precautionary, the young skater says.

“I could go and kind of grind it out, but I could finish my long program and end up tearing a lot more of the muscle,” he said.

“It’s not like it is really painful, it’s nothing like I can’t walk. I’m still able to skate, so it’s nothing too serious.

“It’s just something that we want to look at and catch it early before it gets any worse.”

Chan says an antibiotic he was taking to treat a severe flu that he suspects could have been the H1N1 virus, led to the tear. He says the drug caused him to lose a considerable amount of muscle, making him prone to injury.

H1N1 has not been confirmed through medical testing.

While on the medication several weeks ago, Chan began to feel soreness in his leg but tried to fight through the pain.

“I was so hard-headed I still thought I could do certain jumps that I shouldn’t have, and pushed my body too hard when I should’ve just waited for it to heal,” he said.

Missing the Russian Cup is discouraging for the world champion silver medallist who was looking forward to facing former Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko, who has returned to competition this season.

“I’m very disappointed because it was a huge excitement for me to hear he was coming back and that I would get a chance to compete against him because I always used to watch him at home on TV,” Chan said.

However, healing quickly appeals more to Chan and the members of the national body who would rather see the skater completely recover in time for the Skate Canada International in Kitchener next month.

“It’s important for Patrick to get back to 100 per cent in preparation for the season ahead, including the upcoming 2010 Olympic Winter Games,” said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada’s high performance director.

“Patrick is already looking forward to competing in November at HomeSense Skate Canada and for the remainder of the season.”

The Kitchener competition will be Chan’s only international test before the Olympics as he won’t be able to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Tokyo in December because he’ll only be involved in the one circuit event.

He is set to resume training in the next five days and should be fully healed within two weeks, Slipchuk says.