Hirscher needs 15 weeks to recover, missing ski season start

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2017 file photo Austria's Marcel Hirscher waits in the finish area during an alpine ski, men's World Cup slalom, in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Multiple World Cup Overall winner Hirscher broke his left ankle during a training on Moelltaler glacier in Austria, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta, file)

VIENNA — Marcel Hirscher will need up to 15 weeks to recover from a broken left ankle, ruling the six-time overall World Cup champion out of ski racing likely until December.

The season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, is on Oct. 29. A start in the Nov. 12 slalom in Levi, Finland, is also doubtful, Hirscher's doctor, Gerhard Oberthaler, tells the Austria Press Agency.

Oberthaler says, "If you have been in a cast for six weeks, your ankle is not immediately ready for ski training."

The 28-year-old Hirscher damaged his ankle after straddling a slalom gate during practice on the Moelltaler glacier on Thursday. It was the Austrian's first day back on snow while preparing for the new season, which also includes the Pyeongchang Olympics in February.

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