CINDY KLASSEN RECUPERATING FROM SURGERY

World Speed Skating Champion Cindy Klassen is recuperating in a Calgary hospital following surgery to her right forearm on Tuesday afternoon.

The surgery was needed to repair a 4 - 6 inch laceration to muscle and tendons near her wrist following a fall during an on-ice practice on Monday at the Olympic Oval.

The resulting trauma has caused a slight loss of feeling in some fingers however doctors are encouraged that this will not be permanent.

Klassen is expected to make a full recovery and will be in a splint for four weeks following which she will begin extensive physiotherapy.

"I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to getting back to training," said Klassen from her hospital bed.

"I have every intention of returning to the team and training full-time as soon as my doctors and my body allow me."

The 24-year-old will be hospitalized for the next few days and is expected to be released on Thursday or Friday. She is not expected to return to training for 5-6 weeks.

Klassen, a native of Winnipeg, was training when she slipped and fell to the ice sliding into the path of another skater.

She will miss the first half of the World Cup circuit which begins on November 8 & 9 in Hamar, Norway and hopes to return to competition in January

"Speed Skating Canada will provide Cindy with all the support needed to assist her in the recovery process," said Jean R. Dupré, Director General for Speed Skating Canada. "The entire speed skating community sends it best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery."

Klassen had a breakthrough season in 2003 becoming the first Canadian in 27 years to win an overall title at the world speed skating championships. She was also crowned the 1500m world cup champion, silver medallist at the world sprint championships and won a bronze medal in the 1000m at the world single distances championships.