(Reuters) - American Olympic champion Bode Miller will undergo back surgery but is expected to be fit to race at the alpine ski world championships next year on home snow, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association said on Monday.
Miller, one of the most popular and successful alpine skiers of all time, had been training at Copper Mountain the past month but elected to have surgery to correct a back issue that had bothered him since last season.
"After consultation with my medical team and coaches, I have decided to have outpatient back surgery today," Miller said in a statement. "I am disappointed that I will miss some of the early season speed races, including Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek.
"But the procedure will alleviate the pain and discomfort I have been fighting in my back since World Cup finals last year.
"Our expectation is that I will be able to train and race in January and be ready for the world championships here at home in February."
Miller, a two-time overall World Cup champion, could be back on the World Cup circuit in January and ready to compete at two of ski racing's biggest and most challenging events in Kitzbuehel and Wengen.
The races would provide an indication of Miller's form ahead of the world championships set for Feb. 2-15 at Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)