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Mustafina Eager to Head Home After Surgery
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World champion Aliya Mustafina is recovering from this week's knee surgery in Germany and ready to return to Moscow, Russian coach Andrei Rodionenko said Thursday.

"Aliya feels good. She feels positive and wants to get back home," he said.

Mustafina, who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament Friday at the European championships in Berlin, underwent surgery Wednesday at a clinic outside Munich. German surgeon Dr. Michael J. Strobel led the two-hour surgery at Sporthopaedicum in Straubing.


Aliya Mustafina (Russia)

"The doctor said that the operation was successful, including the improved position of the meniscus, and the post-operative MRI confirmed what they said," Rodionenko said in a statement on the Russian Gymnastics Federation's website. "On Friday there will be the post-op examination, and after that we will learn when we can leave the clinic."

Strobel specializes in knee reconstruction and previously operated on gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, tennis legend Boris Becker and members of the Bayern Munich football team.

"We must say thank you so much to Dr. Strobel," Rodionenko said. "He said his surgeries are booked for the next six months but he got involved with us and immediately arranged to help Aliya. And this is something not everyone can recover from. Therefore, all advice will be strictly followed."

With the 2012 Olympics just 16 months away, Mustafina is in a precarious situation, Rodionenko noted. She will return to the clinic in Straubing after a few weeks of recovery in Russia.

"Maybe from a medical perspective it's not that complicated," Rodionenko said of the ACL repair. "The typical man recovers from this surgery 100 percent. But Aliya has a serious athletic career ahead of her. Therefore, we chose the clinic and the doctor very carefully. And we decided on Straubing - they not only operate perfectly, but they have perfected the rehabilitation process so I understand."

Rodionenko said he kept the media away prior to the surgery, but allowed a Russian correspondent from newspaper "Sovietsky Sport" to visit the gymnast after her surgery.

"I ache a little, but not too much, yesterday was worse," Mustafina told the reporter. "And I have strong pain killers. Thanks to the Internet I've been communicating with friends and time flies quickly, so there's less focus on the pain. Tanya Nabiyeva called me here today on Skype, and I talked a lot with the other girls."

The 16-year-old Mustafina, laid up in bed, refused to have her photo taken.

"That's the nature of our champion," Rodionenko said. "She wants to be the best not only in sports but in everything. Including photos."

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

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