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Pavlova Unsure of Return
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Anna Pavlova in beam qualification at the 2008 DTB Cup in Stuttgart

Two-time Russian Olympic gymnast Anna Pavlova says she's unsure she can return to competition after undergoing knee surgery last week.

Pavlova, 21, reportedly suffered a torn right ACL dismounting balance beam at the DTB Cup on Nov. 15 in Stuttgart. Russian doctors operated on the knee Thursday.

Pavlova is still recovering as an inpatient at a Moscow hospital, she told news agency "All-Sport" on Tuesday.

"The exact diagnosis, I cannot say, but it seems to be serious enough," said Pavlova, a competitor at the 2003, 2005 and 2006 World Championships. "I don't even know when I can leave, as everything will depend on how my body heals. We don't even talk about training again in the near future. Without a doubt, it won't be in the next six months."

Coached by her mother, Natalia Pavlova, Anna has been a strong — and popular — force on the Russian team for the past eight years. She made her major competition debut at the 2000 Junior European Championships in Paris, helping the Russian team regain its title and taking the individual gold on uneven bars.

At the 2002 Junior European Championships in Patras, Greece, she won the all-around gold, another team title and the gold on vault, her best individual career achievement to date.

She was a member of Russia's bronze medal team at the 2004 Olympic Games, where she finished a controversial fourth place in the all-around. She won a second bronze medal in the vault final.

Pavlova was frustrated again at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where Russia finished a disappointing fourth in the team final. She qualified for the all-around final and three apparatus finals, but left without a medal. After placing seventh in the all-around, disappointment found her again in the apparatus finals. She finished last on vault after receiving a score of zero for vaulting before given the green light from the judges, and fell in the floor exercise final for another eighth-place finish. She placed fourth in the balance beam final, missing the bronze medal by .050.

Despite her mistakes, Pavlova remains one of the most popular gymnasts because of her beautiful body line, clean form and artistic polish.

But the knee injury has put her career in jeopardy, she said.

"I hope, of course, that I will be able to return to gymnastics, but I don't have full confidence in that," she said.

Pavlova fan montage

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