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The Early Story On Lindsey Vonn’s Knee — A Career Ender?

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Lindsey Vonn skis before crashing while competing in the Women's Super G event during the Alpine FIS Ski World Championships on Feb. 5, 2013 in Schladming, Austria.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Lindsey Vonn skis before crashing while competing in the Women’s Super G event during the Alpine FIS Ski World Championships on Feb. 5, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

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Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorThe information at this point is still a little sketchy, but what is clear is that Lindsey Vonn did suffer a potentially career ending ski injury Tuesday in Austria.

It’s being said that she suffered three injuries: a torn ACL, a torn MCL, and a fracture of the lateral plateau of her tibia, or shin bone.

The ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament is the main ligament of the knee. It keeps the shin bone from sliding forward on the thigh bone. It’s the same injury NFL players Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III was, or are, dealing with.

RELATED: Vonn Crashes In Super-G Event, Suffers Broken Shin, Torn Ligaments

The MCL, or medial collateral, is on the inside of the knee, and keeps the knee from gapping open when you put knock-knee stress on your knee joint.

The lateral tibial plateau fracture means there is a break on the outside part of the leg where the shin bone meets the thigh bone. It is not the kneecap. The tibia is the shin bone.

All are serious.

The ACL — as with other athletes — can be surgically repaired, and the rehab is 6-12 months. For a skier, I’d go more with the 12 month since downhill and Super-G places more stress on a knee than avoiding a tackle in football.

The MCL is fixable, and just makes the rehab a little harder. It’s not a career ender.

The tough one may be the fracture. It usually heals in less than 6 months, but sometimes we need to put in some hardware such as screws and plates to stabilize the fracture. So that delays rehab even more.

I’m not sure she had an MRI yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear later that she nailed an meniscus, or cartilage, as well.

Tough injuries. Hard to repair. Hard to recover. But in the best case scenario, NOT a career ender. But it will take time to be able to perform at this level again. But she may be able to do it.

More to come as we learn more about the injuries.

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