Olympic ice dance silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will miss this week’s NHK Trophy after Cizeron hurt his back in a practice fall on Wednesday, their agent said.
The injury is not serious, and the French couple is still confirmed to compete in its other Grand Prix in France in two weeks. They are expected to return to the ice as soon as later Tuesday for limited training.
NBC Sports Gold live streams every men’s, women’s, pairs’ and dance program at NHK Trophy in Japan this week.
Papadakis and Cizeron are now in line to miss December’s Grand Prix Final, the second-biggest international event of the season behind March’s world championships. The Final takes the top six couples from the Grand Prix season, but since the French are left with one Grand Prix event entry, they would be ineligible.
U.S. champions Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue will likely enter the Final as the favorites. Hubbell and Donohue took fourth in PyeongChang and the silver medal at last season’s worlds behind Papadakis and Cizeron, who earned their third world title.
Papadakis and Cizeron, who train with Hubbell and Donohue in Montreal, have not competed in a full event since worlds seven months ago.
The other top couples from PyeongChang — gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. — are taking indefinite breaks from competition. Papadakis and Cizeron haven’t lost to anybody other than Virtue and Moir in three and a half years.
Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker and Russians Tiffany Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro lead the NHK Trophy dance field.
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Correction: An earlier version of this post reported Papadakis and Cizeron had not competed since last season. They performed a rhythm dance in a small event in France in September. (h/t @paul_peret)
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