US skier Bode Miller on pace for January return

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. (AP) Six-time Olympic medalist Bode Miller remains ''optimistic'' about a January return after undergoing surgery last month to fix a disk in his back.

Miller, of Franconia, New Hampshire, hopes to lightly ski as soon as this week. He's on pace to possibly race at world championships in February ''barring unforeseen catastrophes,'' he said in audio provided by the U.S. Ski Team.

The 37-year-old Miller missed the start of the World Cup season because of his back, which has bothered him since a fall at the World Cup Finals last March.

He said he won't know how his back feels until he returns to snow. He added that ''World Cup skiing is the ultimate test for a disk. If it can withstand one run down Kitzbuehel, I'll probably be OK.''

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