The Virtue of patience

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

SASKATOON -- There are not many ice dancers who go on the injured reserve list with lower body injuries.

Then again, there are not many chonic exertional compartment syndrome overuse injuries -- which are characterized by a tightening of the fascial tissue surrounding the muscles in the shin.

Tessa Virtue, Canada's silver medallist at last year's world championships, had it in both shins.

She had surgery Oct. 6 to cut the tissues and release the pressure.

Now she has pronounced herself to be back after a test drive in original dance at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

More important, she says she's ready to take on the pressure of being a world silver medalist.

Ten months after winning the silver at their last competition -- the world championships in Goteborg, Sweden, Virtue and Scott Moir, the relatively new dynamic duo from London and Ilderton, Ont., are now able to take on the major events of the season secure in the knowledge that everything is, well, secure.

"It was a bit scary going into competition for the first time," Virtue said of the late-night run after a day full of junior competition Wednesday.

"Mentally, it was a lot harder than I thought. Two months ago I was laying in bed and I couldn't walk.

"It went well. Now we're really looking forward to getting on with the competition (today) and tomorrow. I feel lucky to have had the surgery."

Virtue's four two-inch scars didn't rip open nor was there the pain which she had to skate with when they started to prepare for this season.

"Now I'm sure it's all been a success and the recovery to my shins is great," said the 19-year-old.

"Skating is so much fun again," she said of the team which hasn't exactly been boring, bursting onto the scene with a sixth in Worlds two years ago -- an unheard of accomplishment in dance.

"We've been craving this a little while," said the 21-year-old Moir.

"It was like we hadn't missed any time. It was extremely reassuring."

It was a long time waiting to return to competition for Moir, who found himself dancing with a hockey stick in Virtue's absence.

With new routines to debut in the original dance today and tomorrow's free skate final and next to no mileage on either, there's some question about having it ready here as they attempt to win a second Canadian title.

Being a pre-Olympic year, the duo will have an extra event, the Four Continents test for Vancouver 2010, prior to this year's world championships in Los Angeles.


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