(Reuters) - World downhill champion Aksel Lund Svindal is likely to miss the entire Alpine skiing season after tearing his Achilles tendon while playing football.
The 31-year-old Norwegian was injured in Austria on Saturday, eight days before the World Cup season starts with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria.
"I was out for a little run with the rest of my team in Soelden," said Svindal on his Facebook page. "We ended the session playing around with a ball.
"Suddenly I felt something snap in my leg and I knew right away something was wrong. Extremely bad timing just as the season is about to start but now that it's happened there's not much I can do."
Svindal is unsure how long his recovery will take and with the world championships taking place in February, he is unlikely to be able to defend his downhill title.
The Norwegian, who has won 11 medals at major championships and is a double World Cup overall champion, missed the entire 2007-08 season after breaking bones in his face during a training session.
(Reporting by Michael Hann, editing by Tony Jimenez)