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Plushenko to undergo surgery within days — physician

March 13, 2016, 17:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The rehabilitation process will take six months

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© Artyom Korotayev/TASS

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Russia’s two-time Olympic Champion Evgeni Plushenko will be operated in Israel in the next few days, rehabilitation will take up to six months, Plushenko’s attending physician Ilya Pekarsky told TASS on Sunday.

On March 11, the Russian titled figure skating star underwent medical examination in Israel following an injury he had received during a training session in Switzerland. "The medical examination revealed serious health problems," Pekarsky said. "He has his neck nerve running to his arm seriously pinched."

"Plushenko is saying in Israel. Now we are dealing with organizational issues. I think surgery will be conducted in the next few days," he said. "I hope it will help do completely away with this health problem so that he can get back to skating rink. But the rehabilitation process will take six months."

Pekarsky said he had offered Plushenko two options of treatment, including nonsurgical. "In Evgeni’s situation, treatment can be both surgical and nonsurgical," he said. "I offered him both options and started from the nonsurgical one, if he refrains from jumping and skating. He has been having this problem for a long time already. Apart from that, Plushenko said he doesn’t want band-aid solutions. A probability that injections and physiotherapy treatment will help him is small. It is a temporary measure for a man who wants bigger muscle loading. That is why he has opted for surgery."

Although retired in the past Plushenko stunned media in the summer of 2014 by announcing that he intended to compete for another title at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

Titled 33-year-old Plushenko performed in four Olympics throughout his career, winning his first Olympic gold at the 2006 Winter Games in Italy’s Turin and the second in February last year at Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. He retired from sports after the Sochi Olympics.

Plushenko, who also brought Russia silver medals both at the 2002 Olympics in US Salt Lake City and at the 2010 Olympics in Canada’s Vancouver and won seven European champion titles, struggled with back injuries over the two skating seasons prior to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but kept insisting that he would be able to perform well on his home ice.

He partly kept his promise winning the gold in team’s competition in Sochi, but his withdrawal from the men’s individuals saw him not only going to Israel last year for the surgery on his back, but drew mass criticism across Russia.

During a warm-up before the individuals’ performance, Plushenko attempted a triple axel jump, but landed uncomfortably aggravating his old injury and breaking a screw that supported an artificial intervertebral disk in his back.

Eventually, the Russian figure skating star withdrew from the competition and later announced that he had decided to quit sports for good.

In April 2015, Plushenko was enlisted once again in the Russian national figure skating team however in mid-September he announced his decision to skip following another spine injury. In December, he said he doesn’t need a spine surgery which was planned for March 2016.

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