During the final round of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Leogang, Austria last weekend, world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) suffered a knee injury during practice that put him out of the race and put an end to any more racing during the rest of this season.
"I was coming to a section in practice and my back wheel slipped off a log," said Minnaar. "I tried to run it out, and I didn't really hit the floor. I was waiting for a gap in riders to go back up to get my bike and when I leaned forward to cross the track my knee flipped backwards."
"I rode down the side of the track to the pits knowing I had done something pretty bad. I've torn the meniscus and ACL, and as far as I know I'll need surgery. I'm in conversations with my doctor in South Africa who is studying my MRI and we are exploring options for surgery."
Performance enhancement coach Lawrence Van Lingen said, "The most likely scenario is that Greg hyper extended (bent backward) his knee with a sideways, and or twist force, while trying to save the crash. This resulted in a near full rupture of his anterior cruciate ligament and a lengthwise tear in his medial meniscus (knee cartilage). This makes the knee unstable as the anterior cruciate helps stabilize the knee, which is why Greg's knee gave out whilst trying to walk back to the track."
Minnaar's knee was immediately immobilized and supported after the accident. He was taken for MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis. So far, he has made excellent progress with minimal pain and swelling, however there is still a strong possibility of surgery.
Despite this, Minnaar and Van Lingen are confident that he'll be able to make a full recovery and return to racing by the start of the 2014 season.
Although he could not race the World Cup finals in Leogang, Minnaar was still able to hold onto his third position overall placing in the 2013 World Cup series