Bode Miller underwent a routine surgical evaluation of his left knee on Wednesday and should be back on skis next month, according to a U.S. Ski Team spokesman.
Miller was on snow training in Portillo, Chile, just last weekend, but the five-time Olympic medalist then flew back to the United States for a planned procedure on his left knee.
“Knee surgery today,” Miller tweeted late Wednesday. “It went much better then [sic] I was thinking would. Things are looking great in there.”
The two-time overall World Cup champion was forced to cut last season short in late February after injuring his knee at Rosa Khutor, the alpine ski racing venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Portillo, where U.S. racers have had the resort to themselves this week after it closed to the public last weekend, represented the first on-snow training for Miller this season.
“Bode mainly focused on glide turns and getting his feet back under him while he was [in Portillo], but it was good to have him training with the group,” said head coach Sasha Rearick. “He was mostly in full jacket and pants, but stripped down for some downhill. He's still pumped on skiing and looking to compete this season.”
U.S. Ski Team spokesman Doug Haney on Thursday confirmed Wednesday’s surgery was scheduled and not the result of a new injury in Chile.
“Bode was in Portillo until last weekend, then flew to home for a planned evaluation,” Haney said. “It showed good progress and he will continue his return to snow as planned. He should be [on snow] next month.”
The first race of the season is a giant slalom on Oct. 28 in Soelden, Austria. The men’s tech team will travel from Portillo to Soelden, then come to Copper Mountain to train at the new U.S. Ski Team Speed Center ahead of races in Lake Louise, Canada, and Beaver Creek.
Miller, who has won more World Cup races (33) than any other American man and is seventh on the all-time career victory list, started last season with a bang, winning for the fourth time on Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey course in December.
But then he injured his knee finishing fourth in the Olympic test event in early February, tried to ski through the pain a week later at a World Cup race in Bansko, Bulgaria, and finally had to fly to Vail for surgery at the Steadman Clinic. He tried to return to action later in the month in Crans Montana, Switzerland, but finally pulled the plug due to ongoing discomfort.
“I love ski racing and I love being active, so I hope for a solid recovery and to get back to training as soon as possible,” Miller said after last season’s surgery in Vail. “I'm still having fun, and as long as skiing is enjoyable, I'm going to continue to do it.”
Miller earlier this month announced his engagement to professional volleyball player Morgan Beck, and late Thursday tweeted a photo of the two of them in San Diego. Miller also has a 4-year-old daughter in the San Diego area with a woman he had a previous relationship with but never married.
And he reportedly will be at Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles on Saturday to watch his 2-year-old racehorse Carving run in the FrontRunner Stakes. The horse is owned by Miller and being trained by three-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert.
Miller’s return for the Birds of Prey downhill on Friday, Nov. 30, is good news for race organizers at the Vail Valley Foundation. Miller has won the downhill three times on the daunting Beaver Creek track, thrilling fans there last season with a daring plunge down the course. He’s also won a giant slalom race at Beaver Creek.