Julien Cousineau out with knee injury

09 January 2012 15:19

Julien Cousineau has set his sights on a swift comeback from a knee injury suffered in a World Cup slalom race in Adelboden on Sunday.

The 30-year-old is on his way back to Canada for further tests on his left knee, which gave way underneath him as he raced down the hill during the first run of the men’s slalom.

Doctors are yet to confirm the nature of the injury or how long he will be out, but Cousineau has resigned himself to the possibility that his season is over.

“I’m pretty sure it’s the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). It’s going to be a hard six months but I will come back healthy and strong,” said Cousineau, as he left Adelboden for the national team’s base in Kirchberg, Austria.

“I was kind of in trouble before I went down. I was out of balance a bit and my ski grabbed really hard. I just felt my knee pop and move around. There was pain right away and as soon as I Ianded I grabbed my knee.”

Cousineau, one of Canada’s best slalom skiers, had high hopes for this season after producing some standout results in 2010-11, including a fifth-place finish at the FIS World Ski Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in February 2011. He is known to excel on icy, fast courses but heavy snowfall and unseasonably warm temperatures have meant that many of the World Cup races staged to date have featured soft snow and uneven conditions.

“Obviously I didn’t have the best start to the season - I was hoping for a better things,” said Cousineau, whose top World Cup results in 2011-12 are 15th- and 17th-place finishes in Flachau, Austria, and Beaver Creek, USA, respectively, in December. “I was slowly coming back and I was hoping for a good race this weekend to get the ball rolling. Unfortunately it all came crashing down on me. That’s part of the sport.”

On Tuesday Cousineau is due to arrive in London, Ont., where he will be assessed by Canadian Alpine Ski Team medical staff.

“The full nature of the injury will be determined. His return to competition this season remains uncertain,” said team physician, Dr. Stephen French. “Julien remains in very high spirits and is looking forward to returning to the World Cup.”

Cousineau suffered a serious knee injury in 2006, which forced him to miss out on the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. He also tore an ACL earlier in his career.

“I did the ACL on my right knee in 2004 so I kind of know the deal,” he said. “I’m going to London – I’ve already lined things up. It’s not the end of the world. There are worse things that can happen.”

In the meantime, Cousineau has already switched roles from elite athlete to team cheerleader. Despite suffering a knee injury Sunday, he was delighted to see his good friend and teammate Mike Janyk  finish seventh in Sunday’s race, while another teammate – Brad Spence was 17th.

“I was really happy for Mike and Brad,” Cousineau said. “It’s good for the whole team to get these results. We had a little bit of a slow start but they will pick it up. I will be cheering for them from home and calling them to make sure they don’t forget about me!”

Janyk said Cousineau will be missed.

“He is the teammate I look to the most for support and confidence,” said Janyk, shortly after Sunday’s race. “I’m hoping for the best.”