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Snowboarder tears ACL

American snowboarder JaysonHale tore ligaments in his right knee during Olympic training Tuesday and will miss the snowboardcross race this week. His injury came after he got too much air on a late jump during his practice run and landed awkwardly.

Dr. Jim Sterling, the USOC's chief medical officer, said Hale tore his anterior cruciate ligament and suffered significant bone bruising around the knee.

The 20-year-old from Sierraville, Calif., was in stable condition. He had not decided whether to remain in Italy for the rest of the games or return home. Hale tore up the same knee in March, shortly after finishing third in the 2005 World Championships.

In other medical news Tuesday:

+ Two days after a harrowing training-crash run, American Lindsey Kildow may race in today's women's downhill. Bill Marolt, CEO for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, said Kildow would be a "game-time decision" but did confirm that she had been entered in the race.

"The thing I like about her is that her head's still in it," Marolt said. "She doesn't want her name taken off the board."

Kildow took a nasty spill during Monday's training run, but the 21-year-old from Vail, Colo., escaped with only minor injuries. Jesse Hunt, U.S. Alpine director, said Kildow had been released from the hospital.

+ American luger Samantha Retrosi was released from a Turin hospital. Retrosi sustained a concussion and needed stitches to close a cut in her chin after a spill near the bottom of the 19-curve course Monday.

Canada's Meaghan Simister was injured on the track and was taken away in an ambulance. There was no immediate word on her condition.

+ Defending Olympic aerials champion Ales Valenta of the Czech Republic hurt his right knee in training and said he didn't know if he could jump in next week's qualifying. Valenta was trying a triple-twisting jump when he landed awkwardly and yelped in pain.

+ Defending champion KjetilAndre Aamodt, the most successful Alpine skier in Olympics history, withdrew from the men's combined event because of a sore left knee.

+ Multi-medal favorite JanicaKostelic, a triple gold winner in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, skipped the final training session for the women's downhill Tuesday. A Croatian team official blamed a high pulse.

+ The Norway squad considered a medal contender in the Nordic combined team event pulled out of today's competition because four of its athletes are ill.

HUGHES ARRIVES THURSDAY: Emily Hughes worked on her Olympic program at a hockey practice rink Tuesday, then planned to get busy with more pressing matters.

"I've got to pack!" she said.

A day before her flight to Italy, Hughes said she was pleased with her workout at the Syosset practice home to the New York Islanders. Hughes was the lone skater at the massive rink, where she worked on her program for about two hours.

"It went really well - really well today," said Hughes, the 17-year-old sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes. She will represent the United States at the Olympics as a replacement for Michelle Kwan, who dropped out with a groin injury.

Police guarded the entrance to the rink, about a 20-minute drive from Hughes' home. Emily Hughes had one more practice session planned for this morning before leaving for Italy later in the day.

"I really just want to skate my best," she told reporters in a hallway of the skating rink. "I want to take in the whole Olympic experience - you know, meet all the other athletes. I'm really excited to go."

FORSBERG AT 50-50: The chances of Peter Forsberg playing took yet another twist when the Swedish team doctor announced that the hockey player was, at best, "50-50" to play.

Lennart Houelius, longtime physician to Team Sweden, said that Forsberg's injury is severe enough that he doesn't even want him to skate. And unless the Flyers center shows dramatic improvement by Friday, he will tell Forsberg to return home.

Forsberg has a torn left groin that remains unhealed, the Flyers medical staff says.

"I examined Peter today and it's a 50-50 chance that he'll play," Houelius said. "He will not skate for another couple of days. He will try again to skate on Friday. If Peter has any signs of pain on Friday, he will leave Turin and we will pick another player."

It is believed that Swedish officials have already chosen a replacement. It could San Jose's Nils Ekman, but that could not be determined Tuesday night.

ANOTHER SKIER CLEARED: AlenAbramovic of Croatia was told he passed a second blood test and would be allowed back into Olympic competition after serving a five-day suspension for high hemoglobin. Of the 12 cross-country athletes suspended last week, five have been cleared so far, and one has failed a retest.

- TIMES WIRES

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