Jason Brown was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right fibula on Dec. 16, kept off the ice for the rest of December and goes into next week’s U.S. Championships with 80 percent strength in that right leg.
Not ideal for the only Olympian in the men’s field as he tries to make the two-man world championships team.
“I’m going to do the best I can do with what I’ve got right now,” Brown said Thursday. “I am in the healing process. I am getting stronger.”
Brown, 22, was the breakout U.S. men’s skater of 2014 and 2015.
In Sochi, he was the youngest U.S. Olympic men’s singles skater since 1976 and finished ninth. In 2015, Brown became the youngest U.S. men’s champion since 2004 and finished fourth at the world championships, the best U.S. men’s finish since 2009.
But Brown missed last year’s U.S. Championships with a back strain. His petition to be placed on the world championships team was denied.
Brown came back strong this fall with a second-place finish at Skate America in October, with a score that ranks him second among Americans this season.
Then Brown started feeling right leg soreness before his next competition in November. He finished seventh at NHK Trophy in Japan, his performances impacted by a lack of strength in that leg.
He returned to Colorado and continued training, but the soreness and fatigue turned into sharp pain. He received the diagnosis on Dec. 16, exactly five weeks before the U.S. Championships short program, and was told the recovery would take four to six weeks.
Brown returned to skating two weeks ago and started doing jumps on Tuesday. He hasn’t attempted a quadruple jump in practice yet but isn’t ruling out being able to next week.
If Brown can be anywhere near his best skating from the fall, he should be able to finish in the top two at nationals and make the world championships team.
Defending U.S. champion Adam Rippon is out. While 17-year-old phenom Nathan Chen is the favorite, no other skater in the field has scored within 25 points of Brown’s top total this season.
If Brown finishes lower than second, he could still be placed on the worlds team due to his strong results in recent years.
“I might be 100 percent in a week,” Brown said. “I don’t want to rule that out. But the main thing is, I want to show that I can be a good candidate.”Follow @nzaccardi