langlois-hay090109

Cody Hay and Anabelle Langlois at last year's Canadian figure skating championships, where they upended defending pairs champions Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

A major setback in her recovery from a broken lower right fibula will prevent Anabelle Langlois from defending the pairs title with partner Cody Hay at next week's Canadian national figure skating championships in Saskatoon.

Langlois, who suffered the injury during a practice session on July 23 and had surgery a week later, was forced off her skates Tuesday.

"I had started jumping again [in the last two, three weeks] and doing throws [a week ago] and then I came to the rink on Tuesday and I could barely walk," Langlois, who had five screws and a metal plate inserted in the ankle, told reporters on a conference call Friday.

"I can only skate at about 10 per cent at this time, but I was skating at about 70 per cent last week, maybe even a little more. It feels like I'm back in September [when I started my rehabilitation].

"We're seeking more answers and doing more testing next week."

At the very least there is tissue damage, said Langlois, who at one time was diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain and had to withdraw from Skate Canada in October. The tandem will attempt to return at the Four Continents championships in Vancouver on Feb. 2.

Michael Slipchuk of Skate Canada said the national team for the world championships in Los Angeles (March 22-29) will not be announced until after Four Continents.

Langlois, who was given the all-clear by her surgeon to resume training in mid-September, told CBCSports.ca she doesn't believe she went too hard and too fast in rehabbing the ankle.

"Off the ice, I had been doing a lot better.… I could run," said the native of Grand-Mere, Que., adding she has experienced sensitivity over the metal plate since the surgery. "I've had recurring pain since the beginning that I don't think is related to the bone break and that's what's been holding me back the most.

"I just think there's something that hasn't been addressed or treated properly."

For Hay, he has spent much of the past five-plus months skating the pair's new programs — complete with new costumes and music — under the guidance of choreographer David Wilson.

The native of Grande Prairie, Alta., has also spent time in the gym and working on his solo jumps and spins.

While Langlois has received sympathy from many people, she has felt enormous empathy for Hay.

"There's only 20 per cent of the elements that he can do by himself and he's had to do that for months, and deal with the setbacks as well," Langlois said.

"I tell Cody we're going through the phases of AA [Alcoholics Anonymous]. We've gone through denial. We've gone through being very discouraged and being very angry with the situation. We have stayed positive but it has been testing us in all sorts of ways all year."

Hay admitted there will be a period of catch-up once Langlois is back on the ice, but is confident their on-ice chemistry will return quickly.

"We've tried to prepare the things that we could as best we could," he said. "Since Anabelle couldn't do the jumps or the throws we really worked on the lifts and we got to focusing on stroking and on our programs.

"The biggest thing will be [the fact] we haven't had any competition this year. Leading into the next three, four weeks, we're going to try to get some simulations done just to try to get that feeling of being part of a competition, feeling the nerves and feeling the pressure. That's where we've had the biggest setback."