Werner Heel (ITA) fractured hand and Cornel Zueger (SUI) thumb

25 November 2010 09:35

Last year’s runner up in the Lake Louise downhill, Werner Heel of Italy, has broken his right hand in a training accident hand three days ago. A few days before the opening of the Alpine speed season, the Italian slipped in the super-G training in Nakiska. He leaned on his right hand while going about 100 kph which resulted in a fracture.

Heel went from Nakiska to Calgary and further on to Denver where his right arm was put under anesthesia and the fracture was fixed with two screws. A plate was also used, which was affixed with additional six screws. The operation was performed by the South Tyrolean Dr. Randy Viola and went very well according to Heel. ”The doctors think, I will be able to ski with a special splint. The only problem is the temperature. We have currently 30 ° and considering the fact that I cannot move my fingers well, there is a certain risk that I could get frostbiten. I will consider whether it makes sense for me to start but I am not going to take any chances. My health comes first”, says Heel.

Whether he can tie in with last year’s performance with this handicap, however, is doubtful.

The 29-year-old Swiss Cornel Züger hurt the thumb of his left hand in a crash in the first downhill training in Lake Louise. The medical checkup showed that Züger's thumb is broken. He will undergo surgery today in Banff before returning home to Switzerland.

Last season, Didier Defago and Didier Cuche suffered a similar injury. Defago got hurt in the pre-season training while Cuche was injured on 29 January 2010 in Kranjska Gora but was already back (although still with pain) two weeks later to ski the Olympic downhill in Vancouver.