BEIJING (Reuters) – American three-time Olympian Brianna Decker said she will need surgery after her tournament-ending injury in Beijing but will do all she can first to help defending champions the United States retain their women’s ice hockey title at the Games.
The U.S. assistant captain was in good spirits as she rolled into the media mixed zone by knee scooter on Thursday despite sharing the news that she had broken her fibula and suffered “many” torn ligaments in her ankle.
“Fortunately I can still have an influence in the locker room as far as helping them (team mates) out on the power plays, being the eye in the sky and making sure that I can give them certain tips here,” said Decker.
The 30-year-old forward was expected to be among the biggest playmakers in the tournament but saw her Beijing campaign last only a few minutes before she was left screaming in pain after a collision with an opponent behind the net.
Decker said fellow Beijing Olympians had offered support since she was removed by stretcher at Wukesong Sports Centre, including American alpine skier Nina O’Brien, who suffered compound fractures to her left leg during her giant slalom run earlier this week.
“(I) feel a little better from a physical standpoint,” said Decker. “I think mentally things have set in a little bit more but thankful to be here still and be around the team.”
The U.S. enjoyed largely smooth sailing through the preliminary stage, downing Finland, the Russia Olympic Committee (ROC) and Switzerland before losing to Canada 4-2.
They face Czech Republic on Friday in the quarter-finals.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)