Following spring surgeries in Germany, Russian superstars Viktoria Komova and Aliya Mustafina are continuing their separate paths to rehabilitation.
Two months after ankle surgery, Youth Olympic champion Viktoria Komova has resumed training.
Both gymnasts underwent surgery this spring at the Sporthopaedicum Clinic outside Munich. Mustafina, the 2010 world all-around champion, had surgery April 13 after tearing her left anterior cruciate ligament on vault at the European championships in Berlin. Komova, the all-around champion at the 2010 Youth Olympics and 2010 Junior European Championships, had arthroscopic surgery on her right ankle May 19 following a bad sprain in December.
Komova, a first-year senior, has resumed light training and may compete a few events at October's worlds in Tokyo, Russian head coach Alexander Alexandrov said.
"Vika is training now, but not quite at full strength," Alexandrov told Russian newspaper "Sport-Express." "She does the general part with everyone, and then has an individual plan. We are hoping that she can compete at the world championships."
After the injury in December, Komova was fitted with a cast and followed standard recovery procedure for a sprain. She improved enough to compete three events at February's Russian championships, but re-injured the ankle. Russian doctors disagreed on whether to perform ankle stabilization surgery to tighten the loose ligaments, Alexandrov said. In mid-May, when Mustafina returned to the clinic for a follow-up examination, Komova accompanied her for own consultation with German physicians.
"The [Russian] doctors had different opinions: Some recommended an operation, the others insisted no operation was needed," he said. "And so that whole story dragged out until the examination in Germany. There the doctors said right away that an operation was needed, since if one were not done, she could keep getting re-injured over and over."
While the Russians are hopeful Komova may compete at least a few events in Tokyo, Mustafina will certainly miss the event. Her surgeons have not yet given the 16-year-old Muscovite the green light to return to any type of training. She is still doing only upper-body condition and rehabilitation for her leg, Alexandrov said.
"The German doctors recommended completely avoiding any loading whatsoever on the leg she had the operation on, because in order for the knee to recover fully, it cannot be forced at all," he said. "So, Aliya is not doing any exercises that include jumping. First the leg has to be brought back into shape and the muscle functions need to be recovered. That is pretty dreary work."
Next month's Russian Cup will help determine the makeup of the women's squad to Tokyo, where the Russian women will be the defending team champions from the 2010 Worlds in Rotterdam. The injuries to Komova and Mustafina — the two highest-scoring female gymnasts of 2010 — will make it difficult for Russia to win back-to-back team titles.
Of the other 2010 world team members, European champion Anna Dementyeva and 2008 Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva are likely to be on the team. Tatiana Nabiyeva and Yekaterina Kurbatova have been struggling this year, but 2008 Olympian Ksenia Semyonova has reportedly dropped most of the excess weight she gained after Rotterdam. Olympic hopefuls Anastasia Grishina and Anastasia Sidorova are age-ineligible until 2012.
"Unfortunately, I can say that we don't really have anyone to choose from," Alexandrov said of the team's depth. "The lack of rivalry is a big minus. When there is a hard fight to get on the team, the girls train differently. You don't have to talk anyone into working or force them to work."
External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation