Evan Lysacek

Evan Lysacek unsure when he will return to competition

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NEW YORK — Evan Lysacek is back on the ice doing light training but said he couldn’t speculate on a return from a hip injury.

Lysacek, 28, hasn’t competed since his 2010 Olympic title, his comeback delayed and delayed and delayed by injuries. The latest, a torn labrum in his left hip, forced him to withdraw from last week’s Skate America.

He fell on a quadruple toe loop at Champs Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 21 and stayed off the ice for about a month with what he thought was a torn abdominal muscle. On Sept. 26, an MRI revealed the torn labrum.

Now Lysacek is in a race against time. He must post a minimum score in an international competition before the U.S. Championships (Jan. 9-12) to be eligible for the Sochi Olympics. The two-man U.S. team will be named after the U.S. Championships in Boston.

Lysacek said he has a list of possible events in November and December to enter and achieve that score, but he doesn’t know when he will be in competition shape.

“I’m back to training, light training, so I’m happy to be back on the ice,” Lysacek said at a Citibank in Union Square on Saturday as dozens of children from the Figure Skating in Harlem program gathered for a meet-and-greet event. “It’s pretty diverse at this point, a lot of physical therapy, some off ice, a little bit of on ice. Just kind of getting back slowly into training, trying my best to obey doctors’ orders.”

He’ll spend the next few days in New York for events surrounding 100 days out from the Olympics and shooting a commercial for Citi through Wednesday before flying back to his training base in California.

On Sept. 30, Lysacek said at the U.S. Olympic Media Summit that he had specific goals and a timetable he’d like to hit that he made known to doctors. On Saturday, he said the healing process is out of his control.

“It’s just going to be dependent on the rate I can heal,” Lysacek said while wearing his 2010 Olympic gold medal as Katy Perry‘s “Roar” played over a sound system. “No one, including doctors, can really predict healing. … Patience has never been a virtue that I’ve possessed.”

Lysacek’s coach, Frank Carroll, told Icenetwork.com at Skate Canada that Lysacek had medical treatment Monday and, about his recovery, “I don’t know about Evan at all.”

Lysacek remains hopeful that he will heal quickly. But just how quick is the answer he can’t provide yet.

“I can’t speculate,” he said, “though I wish I could. I’m just trying to obey doctors’ orders because I’d like to nip this in the bud now instead of having it be a lingering injury.”

Patrick Chan stars at Skate Canada; U.S. men not so much

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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