Vienna, Austria, Sept. 20, 2001 (AP)--Doctors have told two-time Olympic champion Hermann Maier to wait until late December before lacing up his ski boots again, dimming hopes that he might be able to compete at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Maier still won't be ready to ski at year's end, but doctors will decide whether the skier's right leg, which he broke in a motorcycle crash four weeks ago, can withstand the pressure of a boot, Maier's spokesman, Knut Okresek, told The Associated Press.
``There is no discussion yet of Maier competing'' in February's Winter Games, Okresek said. ``He doesn't talk about skiing, but is training to be able to walk.''
Maier, nicknamed ``The Herminator,'' broke his right leg when the motorcycle he was riding struck a car near the town of Radstadt, just south of Salzburg, on Aug. 24.
Last Friday, Maier left the Salzburg hospital, where he underwent seven hours of surgery after the accident. Since then, he has been undergoing physical therapy in a rehabilitation clinic in Radstadt.
Maier has made steady progress since the accident, Okresek said. ``He is even able to take a couple of steps without crutches now,'' he said.
Maier is scheduled to leave the clinic next week, but will continue physical therapy and weight training, Okresek said. ``He has lost some weight and needs to rebuild everything,'' he said.