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Pechalat delays surgery, worlds still up in the air

French ice dancer to wear protective mask while training

If Nathalie Péchalat competes at worlds, she will do so while wearing a protective mask.
If Nathalie Péchalat competes at worlds, she will do so while wearing a protective mask. (Getty Images)

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By Jean-Christophe Berlot, special to icenetwork.com
(03/15/2012) - French ice dancer Nathalie Péchalat, who got injured Tuesday afternoon while practicing at her home rink near Detroit, resumed training Thursday morning.

"My nose is broken," Péchalat explained. "It is so stupid, yet it happened while we were skating. We just made a mistake during our twizzles, and I got knocked out.

"Obviously, the move was not a part of our choreography," she added with a smile.

The doctors initially suggested that Péchalat undergo surgery to repair her nasal bone. However, on Thursday, she and partner Fabian Bourzat announced via their Facebook page that she would put off surgery until after the 2012 World Figure Skating Championships.

"Surgery might add some pain, difficulty of breathing and additional bleeding. Also, I would have had to have anesthesia, which would have meant coming back much later to the ice," she added.

"Undergoing surgery right away seems not to be a good idea at all," she concluded.

Péchalat, who with partner Fabian Bourzat won the gold medal at the 2012 European championships and the bronze medal at the 2011 Grand Prix Final last December in Quebec City, have not ruled out participating in worlds in less than two weeks, in their home country.

"The doctor made a mask for me, in order to protect my nose and hold the whole," Péchalat said. "Meanwhile, I have a black left eye -- fortunately, the right one is quite OK!"

Péchalat announced Wednesday evening that she and Bourzat would not make any decision about participating in worlds before the end of the week.

"I need to find out how well I feel and breathe with that mask," she explained to l'Equipe, the French sports daily, "And how I can stand the pain and vibrations."

"Many thought they could even compete for the gold," a representative of the French Federation of Ice Sports said. "You can be sure of one thing: their determination will remain fully intact, whatever the situation."