Plushenko to have back surgery in March

By By BARRY WILNER

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Four-time Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko will have back surgery on March 2.

Plushenko withdrew from the men's short program at the Sochi Games just days after helping Russia win the team gold. He warmed up for the event on Feb. 13, then dropped out, leaving the host nation with no competitor.

The 2006 gold medalist has a history of injuries and fought several physical problems throughout his career. He says he has had 12 surgeries.

The upcoming operation will repair a screw in his back that snapped. The screw supported a disk.

Plushenko, added to the team by the Russian federation after a private test session in January, was criticized by his countrymen for withdrawing from the men's event. But many of his peers supported him, citing his injury history.

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