Valentino Rossi breaks shin bone in crash during practice in Rome; likely needs surgery

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rossi breaks leg in crash during practice in Rome

ROME — Nine-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi broke his right shin during a crash in practice Saturday for the Italian Grand Prix and had surgery.

Dr. Roberto Buzzi operated on Rossi and said it was the worst break he has treated in his career and that he doesn’t envision Rossi returning to racing in 2010.

Reports said that Rossi lost control of his Yamaha while changing direction between two curves at turn 13 while going about 111 mph on his second practice run. He flipped in the air and landed hard on his right leg.

“The fracture was repaired without any complications and Valentino is already awake and smiling,” Dr. Claudio Costa told Sky Sports Italia. Costa is head of the medical facility at the Mugello track where the rider was first treated.

Rossi was in surgery for nearly two and a half hours and is likely to stay in hospital for a week.

Rossi managed to get up after the accident, gripping his right calf. He waved as he was moved to a stretcher before being taken to the track’s medical center. He was flown by helicopter to Florence’s Careggi medical center.

“It’s an injury more serious than we thought, because it’s an exposed fracture with the bone protruding from the skin,” Dr. Claudio Macchiagodena, the MotoGP medical director, said on the circuit’s website.

Rossi’s father said the family doesn’t know how long his recovery would take.

“He was in a lot of pain for 20 minutes, but now he will have all the time necessary to recover,” Graziano Rossi said. “He needs to recover fully before returning. It could be one month, it could be five, it isn’t important. He is in no rush.”

Rossi is second in the standings and this will be the first time he has not competed in his home Grand Prix, a race he has won nine times. It also ends his record run of 230 successive MotoGP races since his debut in the 125cc class at the 1996 Malaysian Grand Prix.

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, who like Rossi is Italian, was asked at her postmatch news conference about his injury. She hadn’t heard, and her face went blank when told.

She said she’s a big fan of his and said, in Italian: “He showed me how to win trophies. I’ve followed his career. My best wishes to him.”

AP Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report from Paris.

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