Lindsey Vonn struggles to move hand after surgery (video)

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Lindsey Vonn had no function in her right hand when she woke up from broken arm surgery in November, and she still is not at 100 percent use, according to her social media.

“Today I am still struggling to do simple things like put on my ski glove and do my hair, but I’m at a point where I am comfortable with my hand in most situations,” was posted on Vonn’s accounts with a video chronicling her rehab (see below).

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion crashed while training Nov. 10, breaking the humerus bone in her right arm. She called it “by far the most painful injury” during an injury-riddled career.

Vonn plans to race for the first time since Feb. 28 in a World Cup downhill in Austria on Saturday (5:15 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app; 3 p.m. ET, NBC).

She’s also coming back from a Feb. 27 race crash that caused three large fractures in her left knee.

Vonn’s goal this season is to earn more World Cup wins to close in on the career record of 86 victories held by Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark.

Vonn is at 76 wins with exactly 10 races left this season combined in her best events of downhill and super-G. If Vonn wins at her usual rate when healthy, she would be in line to break Stenmark’s record next season, an Olympic season.

MORE: Vonn’s latest thoughts on racing against men

I am beyond thrilled that I am announcing my return to racing this weekend! It's been a grueling 9 weeks since my arm surgery with over 300 hours of therapy but all of my hard work is finally paying off!This video I made is very personal. I was very open with all of you regarding the bone fracture in my humerus but what I haven’t mentioned to you is the fact that I also had severe nerve damage.I have thought about whether I should share this information for a long time. In the end, I have opted to tell you because I feel my journey might also give hope to those with similar injuries.As you can see in the video, I woke up from surgery and had no function of my entire hand. I worked closely with my friend and physical therapist Lindsay Winninger and Patrick Rottenhofer every day to slowly regain my motor function. Today I am still struggling to do simple things like put on my ski glove and do my hair, but I'm at a point where I am comfortable with my hand in most situations.This has been the hardest recovery of my career to date but thankfully it has taken less time to heal than my knee injuries. After my 8 week checkup with Dr. Hackett, my bone showed significant healing and I was given the green light to start training and if I was comfortable, start racing.This is just a small piece of my journey back from rehab to racing. During the entire process I documented my progress and was also shadowed by a film crew from Eurosport. Together we captured every high and every low for my new docu-series 'Chasing History'. It will air in February, so you will be able to see my recovery as well as watch me continue to chase history in the future. Thank you for always supporting me no matter what obstacle I face. I have the greatest fans in the world and I am very thankful.And remember, nothing is impossible. If you fall, get back up!XoLv

Posted by Lindsey Vonn on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

French Open: Karolina Pliskova, top player sans Slam, again exits early

Karolina Pliskova
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No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova exited yet another Grand Slam in the early stages, falling to 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the second round at Roland Garros on Thursday.

Ostapenko, whose only match wins at the French Open before this week came in her title run three years ago, bounced the big-serving Czech 6-4, 6-2.

Pliskova put fewer than half of her first serves in play, while Ostapenko fired 27 winners to 19 unforced errors. Pliskova was on the ropes in her first round, too, needing three sets to get past an Egyptian qualifier.

“Maybe same level as the match before, but of course [Ostapenko] is much better player,” Pliskova said. “Not much to say about this match.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women | TV Schedule

Later Thursday, top-ranked Novak Djokovic had a second straight win ceding just five games, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 over Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis. Djokovic undefeated in 2020 save his U.S. Open default for smacking a ball that inadvertently struck a linesperson, next gets Colombian lucky loser Daniel Elahi Galán.

Nobody else in Djokovic’s half of the draw at the start of the tournament made a French Open semifinal before.

Pliskova is the highest-ranked player of either gender (No. 4) without a Grand Slam title, yet hasn’t made it past the fourth round at a major since the 2019 Australian Open.

She’s played six Slams as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, one shy of Caroline Wozniacki‘s total before she broke through at the 2018 Australian Open and two shy of Simona Halep‘s total before she won the 2018 French Open.

Ostapenko, meanwhile, is having a very different career.

She won the 2017 Roland Garros title, two days after turning 20, while ranked 47th. She hasn’t gotten past the third round of a major since 2018 Wimbledon, including first-round French Open exits the last two years, and is back down to No. 43 in the WTA rankings.

“It’s hard to compare with 2017. As I said, it was like three years ago, and I was much younger, and also I was fearless. Nobody knew me,” Ostapenko said. “The world doesn’t stop with winning only one Grand Slam. Of course I want to achieve more, and I want to be back in top five, top 10.”

She dropped just nine games in four sets this week.

Ostapenko gets 87th-ranked Spaniard Paula Badosa in third round. Badosa dispatched 2018 French Open runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

MORE: Serena Williams ‘struggling to walk’

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Figure skating’s Grand Prix fields look very different this season

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Before Nathan Chen is expected to go for a historic fifth straight U.S. figure skating title in January, he will, in a first, compete against most of his top countrymen later this month.

Fields for the Grand Prix Series, figure skating’s autumn international circuit, were published Thursday. As expected, every top skater entered will compete in his or her home country, or nearest to where he or she trains, and in one of the six events.

Traditionally, skaters compete in two of the six events and are scattered among competitions in the U.S., Canada, France, Russia, China and Japan based on world rankings.

But the International Skating Union restricted travel this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Skaters are limited to compete locally. And the Grand Prix Final at the conclusion of the Grand Prix Series has been postponed from its scheduled December setting in Beijing.

That means that Chen vies for a record-tying fourth straight Skate America crown in Las Vegas in three weeks against a field mostly made up of countrymen, including Olympic teammate Vincent Zhou and U.S. bronze medalist Tomoki Hiwatashi.

In all, there are eight U.S. men entered in Skate America, 11 women (including past national champions Bradie Tennell and Gracie Gold), six pairs and nine ice dance couples (including U.S. champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue), plus some skaters from other nations who train in the U.S.

Traditionally, a country has no more than three entries per discipline at a Grand Prix event.

GRAND PRIX FIELDS: Men | Women | Pairs | Ice Dance

Sochi Olympian Jason Brown, who trains in Toronto, is entered in Skate Canada the week after Skate America.

Two-time U.S. women’s champion Alysa Liu will not be old enough for the Grand Prix Series until the 2021-22 Olympic season.

All of the reigning Olympic champions are absent from the series.

Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan previously announced he wouldn’t compete due to virus-related travel risks. Russian Alina Zagitova extended her indefinite break from competition dating to last autumn, rather choosing to participate in a skating-themed TV series.

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada retired. The German pairs’ team of Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot last competed in the 2018 Olympic season.

Instead, the headliners include Chen, the two-time world champion undefeated since placing fifth in PyeongChang. And a deep crop of Russian teenage women, all of course entered in the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in November.

MORE: Brian Orser reacts to Yevgenia Medvedeva’s coaching switch

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