OSAKA - World and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu withdrew from the NHK Trophy on Friday afternoon due to an injured lateral ligament in his right ankle, the Japan Skating Federation announced.
The development means Hanyu will be unable to defend his title at next month’s Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, an event he has won four years in a row.
The 22-year-old superstar was injured during Thursday’s afternoon practice at Osaka Municipal Central Gym while attempting a quadruple lutz. Hanyu went down hard and did the equivalent of the splits, injuring his ankle in the process. He left the ice briefly, but returned and did a run-through of his free skate to “Seimei” including spins without performing any jumps.
Hanyu’s status was unknown at midday on Friday, when the JSF said he was receiving treatment and would try to compete after he did not appear for the morning practice.
But late in the afternoon word came that doctors had advised the Sendai native not to compete here.
“I am very sorry to have everyone worried,” Hanyu said in a statement issued by the JSF. “Doctors have worked hard on treating me since last night aiming to take part in the NHK Trophy. Unfortunately the doctors have made their final decision that I should not take part.
“I will focus on my treatment and work hard toward the nationals,” Hanyu added.
The Japan nationals will be held in Tokyo from Dec. 20-24, with the team for the Pyeongchang Olympics being announced at the conclusion of the event.
Hanyu’s coach Brian Orser is also not at the NHK Trophy as he recovers from gallbladder surgery last month.