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Sweden skip injured on eve of 2012 Worlds

Niklas Edin in January 2012

Niklas Edin in January 2012

Sveriges herrlag i curling tvingas göra en radikal lagändring!

The big news in Basel, site of the imminent 2012 World Men’s Curling Championship, is that Team Sweden has been thrown into turmoil due to a chronic injury affecting skip Niklas Edin.

Word of more problems in Edin’s wonky back come just one day before the opening stones are thrown at the St. Jakobshalle, and during today’s all-important practice sessions. Edin will definitely miss Sweden’s first match against hosts Switzerland, and third Sebastian Kraupp will replace him at skip position. Alternate Oskar Eriksson will enter the lineup at second stone.

“Niklas’ back is getting better and better but he can’t play the first match,” said Swedish national coach Peja Lindholm, a retired three-time world champion skip.

Edin has suffered from back problems since the age of 10. His difficulties reached a peak during the 2010 season, but he was able to finish fourth at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games – thanks to a steady diet of painkiller medication.

Kraupp (far left) and Eriksson

Kraupp (far left) and Eriksson

Edin underwent surgery for multiple herniated discs in June of that year, but has suffered various relapses off and on ever since.

Edin is frustrated. “I have never missed a game in my life,” he told Sweden’s Nya Wermlands Tidningen.

The 26-year-old Kraupp is no stranger to skipping duties: he captained a Karlstad squad for several years before Edin was recruited to the team in 2008.

Eriksson, meanwhile, is no slouch either – he skips Sweden’s second-ranked men’s team, he captured gold at the world juniors and he also jumped into two games for Team Edin at December’s European Championships, when Kraupp fell ill.

Sweden is scheduled for games against China and the Czech Republic on Sunday.

Edin and Kraupp photos by Anil Mungal/Capital One

Eriksson photo by Andrew Klaver/World Curling Federation