• Kyodo

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Kento Momota, badminton’s top-ranked men’s singles player, is expected to be out for another three months after having facial surgery on Saturday, his club NTT East announced.

Momota, who was diagnosed with a broken right eye socket, was involved in a fatal car accident early on Jan. 13, the morning after he won the Malaysia Masters championship. The 25-year-old now has to postpone his return to competition. He had been aiming to return to competition at the All England Open starting on March 11 in Birmingham.

Although he is all but assured a spot in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Momota’s latest setback casts a shadow on his preparations.

Upon returning to Japan, examinations revealed Momota had suffered bruising in different parts of his body and three facial lacerations. After resting up, he had been participating in a national team training camp.

But after complaining of discomfort and double vision while playing, the fracture was discovered in an examination on Friday. The injury appears to be a result of last month’s traffic accident.

“This one really took me by surprise,” Japan head coach Park Joo-bong said in a statement released by Nippon Badminton Association. “We’ll just have to see how it goes after surgery.

“I want him to prioritize his recovery without rushing it.”

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