Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Skiing [Print without images]

Friday, November 30, 2012
Bode Miller won't rush return

Associated Press

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. --  Bode Miller took in the World Cup downhill race from a seat on a stage right behind the finish line.

For the time being, that might be as close as he gets to a race course.

Miller told The Associated Press on Friday that his surgically repaired left knee is still hurting and there's no timetable for his return.

"We're on hold. It's one of those things where I don't want to rush it," said Miller, who had the best view on the slopes as Christof Innerhofer of Italy won a race that Miller captured last season. "When we're ready, we're ready. Then, we'll go."

The 35-year-old Miller had microfracture surgery nine months ago and is taking a cautious approach to his return. He knows that a setback with his knee at this stage could end his career.

"Yeah, but that's not the only reason. No one wants to reinjure themselves when they come back from an injury," said Miller, who was sporting a mustache. "Everyone should be as conservative as they think they need to be not to hurt themselves. But when you're at the end of your career, you're just more experienced than the young guys who want to come back because they don't want to miss any time.

"Someone my age, there's no reason to risk anything. If I'm not healthy, why would I be racing? Why would I go out there and race at 80 percent? It doesn't make any sense."

So he simply watched his counterparts speed down the Birds of Prey course, spraying snow in his direction when they slowed to a stop near his seat. Miller sat next to his new wife, pro volleyball player Morgan Miller.

The two met in May and five months later were married in a private ceremony on his boat in San Diego. They've been inseparable ever since.

And sure, Miller wanted to be out there. But he said it wasn't that difficult just to be a spectator.

"It's not bad," said Miller, who has 33 World Cup wins, two overall titles and five Olympic medals. "A part of you, when you're in the start gate, is saying, 'I wish I wasn't here,' because you really do know you're about to risk your life. It's nerve-racking.

"But there's a part of you that wants to do it, too. There's a part of me that would like to be at the start."

He broke out in a laugh.

"But there's a bigger part that's happy down here," he said.

Miller's knee first began acting up last winter when he was competing on an icy hill in Sochi, Russia, a test run for the 2014 Winter Games.

He tried to ski through the pain and then elected to return to the U.S. to get his knee examined, which led to surgery.

When the knee still wasn't showing improvement, he had microfracture surgery.

While the doctors were fixing his knee, they also mended a cartilage issue that's hampered him since a crash in 2001.

Miller may not have been racing, but he still received plenty of attention, with a lot of the skiers being asked about Miller's absence. All the questions struck runner-up Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway as almost peculiar.

"Bode would for sure have been one of the best guys here today. But the fact is he's not here," Svindal said. "I don't worry about him, to be honest."