Canadian figure skater Jessica Dube says that shifting to singles competition while partner Bryce Davison recovers from knee surgery will eventually make them stronger in the pairs event.
"It keeps me moving forward," Dube said Monday on a conference call. "I think it's really going to help when Bryce gets back. I'm still going to have that competition feeling."
Davison's knee locked up while landing a jump during a training session last month in Toronto. He's back home in Huntsville, Ont., now and can't put weight on his right leg until late January.
Dube, meanwhile, is working on her programs and hopes to qualify for the Canadian championships. She last competed as a singles competitor at the 2008 nationals, when she finished sixth.
"I haven't done a couple of these jumps in a long time," she said. "With new spins and stuff, I'm just focusing on every single element."
When Davison went into surgery, doctors found a three-centimetre fragment of bone had broken off where the thigh bone meets the knee, due to a condition called osteochondritis dissecans.
His surgery entailed opening up his knee and quadriceps muscles to find the chip and then re-attaching it with a bone graft.
"It was a little bit hard to accept at first I guess," Dube said. "But all I have to do now is keep skating and keep training. That's what Bryce did when I was the one injured.
"So I feel like that's not what I have to do, but that's what I want to do. Just to make sure that I'm in good shape whenever he's ready to get back."
Dube suffered a serious facial gash at a meet in 2007. She needed over 80 stitches after she was cut across her cheek and nose by Davison's skate when they were doing side-by-side camel spins.
They rebounded the next season to win Skate America, finish second at Skate Canada, and capture bronze at the world championships.
Davison said he has been swimming and working on his upper-body strength while he's out of action. He hopes to start skating again in March.
"There has certainly been frustration," Davison said. "I know I'm still very fresh into the whole recovery process so I know there will be a lot more.
"I just have to be really patient to not re-injure it."
The three-time Canadian champions finished sixth at the Vancouver Olympics earlier this year. Dube said she misses the lifts and throws that come with pairs competition.
"It's just weird to step on the ice and skate by myself," she said. "I really miss Bryce a lot. I guess I have to get used to that for the next couple months."