Kotooshu, who has been demoted to sumo's third-highest rank of sekiwake for next month's New Year Grand Sumo Tournament, said Wednesday that his return to fitness from a dislocated shoulder is not progressing as quickly as he would like.

The Bulgarian said he is nowhere near ready for action after having his left shoulder dislocated in a match in November's Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament.

"I have begun doing teppo (slapping and pushing exercises) and using resistance tubes, but I haven't stepped into the ring yet," Kotooshu told reporters at a public relations event for yogurt in Tokyo. "I don't think I will make a quick recovery."

It was the second straight tournament in which injury knocked Kotooshu out before he could earn eight wins, forcing him to forfeit his elite ozeki status. Sumo association rules, however, allow him one chance to reclaim his ozeki rank: with 10 wins at the 15-day New Year Tournament, starting on Jan. 12.

"I am thinking of training while undergoing treatment," he said. "I just have to do the things that need doing."