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Olympic champion Hanyu pulls out NHK Trophy with injury

November 10, 2017

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017, file photo, Japan's Hanyu Yuzuru performs in his free program at the Rostelekom Cup ISU Grand Prix figure skating event in Moscow, Russia. Olympic champion Hanyu will be aiming for the top of the podium at the NHK Trophy, the fourth event of the International Skating Union's Grand Prix series, on Nov. 10, 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

OSAKA, Japan (AP) — Yuzuru Hanyu has pulled out of the NHK Trophy after injuring his ankle in practice, a setback that could have a serious impact on his preparations for an Olympic title defense.

The 22-year-old Hanyu withdrew before the short program on Friday, a day after falling while attempting a quadruple lutz in practice, and three months before the Pyeongchang Olympics.

“As I was preparing for the NHK, I received an examination from doctors last night. Unfortunately their judgment was that I withdraw,” Hanyu said in a statement. “I will now go through treatment as I prepare for the Japanese nationals.”

The Japanese nationals are Dec. 19-24, after the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.

At the practice on Thursday, he appeared to be favoring his right ankle but did not leave practice. He skated during the run through for his free skate, although he did not do any further jumps.

A two-time world champion, Hanyu last month placed second at the Rostelecom Cup in Russia, where he skated well but wasn’t his dominant self.

Hanyu joined other notable absentees from the NHK. Patrick Chan withdrew to focus on the Canadian national championships and the Olympics, and Daisuke Murakami pulled out because of pneumonia.

Update hourly