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Morrison feeling good about recovery

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Morrison feeling good about recovery

March 1, 2013

Katie Maximick

Speed skater Denny Morrison, who fractured his left fibula in December, is seen above pushing 300lbs on the single leg press last week in Calgary. After two months of rehabilitation, Morrison said he is at 97 per cent for usability and at 90 per cent of his strength.

Local Olympic speed skater Denny Morrison is well on the road to recovery in Calgary.

After breaking the fibula in his left leg while cross-country skiing over Christmas, Morrison had to leave the World Cup Series behind and hunker down in Calgary at the Olympic Oval to concentrate on healing and rehabilitating to be ready for the next speed skating season.

Until now, Morrison has never been hurt mid-season.

“The hardest week of the whole injury was when the World Cup was in Calgary,” Morrison said on Wednesday, “But there’s nothing I can do about it, so I wasn’t too obsessed or anything like that. I just wished I could’ve been out there.”

The full fracture in the fibula caused more damage than just the bone, as the break sent force into Morrison’s left ankle, spraining or tearing five out of six main ligaments in his foot.

“That was our biggest concern actually, making sure [the ankle] healed properly,” Morrison said. “Right now I’d say I’m at 97 per cent of usability without pain or extra stress.”

“Had this been an Olympic season and the Olympics were coming up in March, I would’ve been skating for sure, and we would’ve been rushing things more with treatments and stuff, but it would’ve been a lot higher risk to do that. The approach we took was to give it its time, let it heal properly. Some of the ligaments in the ankle that were broken, if they didn’t heal well, I would’ve been done skating for the rest of my life.”

Not willing to take that risk, Morrison took his time with trainers on what he called a “conservative recovery plan,” building his strength up every day by arm biking, one-legged cycling, weights and eventually two-legged cycling once his leg was able to handle it.

He now think he’s at 90 per cent of his original strength.

“All the physios and doctors are really happy with where I’m at and are surprised with how fast and how well it’s healed,” he said. “It doesn’t look like there’s going to be any bad side effects long turn.”

With the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games only a year away, Morrison understands why some people might be concerned about him being 100 per cent by then, but he’s optimistic.

Before he was sidelined by his injury, Morrison was having a promising speed-skating season in the ISU World Cup races as the leader of the 1,000 m in the men’s standings with a gold and silver medal.

His results from the fall have him excited for next season, when he will try to qualify for Sochi.

“I’d say it’s very likely I won’t be racing until next season,” he confirmed.

“I think I will be [ready for the Olympics] and I want to be, but that’s the challenge to get there. I need to be really careful next season and do all the right things, make sure I’m putting everyday to good use and be recovered. It’s not a sport where you can fluke out and have a fast race and win it; it’s a sport where you’re going to lose by .1 seconds over 1,500 metres. You need to be on your game.”

He also thinks that while sitting out the season is difficult and hard to watch, the break can also be good for him both physically and mentally.

“I’m excited about next season because racing takes a lot out of you, and to rebuild it takes all year to get back up to that level, so not racing [this spring] it could be a blessing in disguise, but I still feel like I’m the underdog going into next season,” he said.

“On a mental level, being able to take this break from competing this time of year is also refreshing in some ways.”

Morrison also added that the break gives him the opportunity to do things he otherwise wouldn’t be able to while competing in the World Cup Series.

Last week he travelled to Edmonton to be a part of the 23rd Silver Skate Festival that ran Feb. 15 – 24, signing autographs, taking photos with fans and mingling with families.

There he said he was taken back in time to when skating was fun and recreational for him, something easy to forget when you’ve been competing for years.

“It was kind of cool to see the families coming out and try skating,” he said. “You kind of forget the fun of it, so it’s kind of cool to see families out enjoying it, enjoying the sport on a very leisurely level.”

Back in Calgary now, Morrison continues to work on his recovery, feeling stronger every day and even feeling well enough to put on his skin suit on Wednesday to go for his first speed skate since the injury.

“I’m super motivated now to make sure I use everyday and do the best I can everyday to make sure I am ready for the Olympics,” he said.

“I’ll be back next season hopefully stronger than ever.”

Categories: In the Spotlight, Season 2012-2013

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