Chan looks healthy: Skate Canada's Slipchuk

If Mike Slipchuk had any concerns about star Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan's health just three months before the Vancouver Olympics, they were put to rest Tuesday.

If Mike Slipchuk had any concerns about star Canadian figure skater Patrick Chan's health just three months before the Vancouver Olympics, they were put to rest Tuesday.

Skate Canada's high-performance director was at Chan's training base in Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday to watch the Toronto skater practise. Slipchuk said he liked what he saw: no lingering effects from the calf injury that forced Chan to pull out of the opening Grand Prix event of the figure skating season.

"He's back to 100 per cent with all his elements," Slipchuk said in a phone interview after watching a two-hour session.

"Everything jumps-wise is fine, and spin-wise … He's all set to come back next week and be ready for HomeSense in Kitchener."

The 18-year-old Chan will make his season debut at the HomeSense Skate Canada International in Kitchener, Ont., Nov. 19-22.

The world silver medallist was scratched from the Rostelecom Cup last month in Russia after a tear in his left calf muscle. At the time, he said he thought a nasty flu bug he caught during training camp in September had left him weak and more susceptible to injury.

Chan underwent cutting-edge treatment in Toronto called platelet-rich plasma therapy, in which an athlete's own blood is drawn, spun and concentrated and then re-injected into the injured muscle.

The one positive part of a frustrating few weeks for Chan is that the injury occurred early in the season.

"His injury was caught soon enough that he was able to get it treated and get it back to 100 per cent," Slipchuk said. "He only missed one event of the season, which was the first one. If you have to miss something, it's better to do it earlier in the year than late."

New long program

While Chan was doing his rehab, his coaches continued to fine-tune his programs. The short program, set to Walter Taieb's Tango de los Exilados,  is the same one that was so successful last season, while the long program is a new one set to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera that Chan will debut for the judges next week.

"The programs have been continually worked on over this period when he was doing some of his rehab," Slipchuk said. "It gave him some time to spend with Lori [Nichol, his choreographer] on the programs.

"I'm looking forward to seeing them in competition and getting feedback from the judges there."

Skate Canada is the last event of the Grand Prix series. Because Chan can't qualify for the Grand Prix Final next month in Tokyo — he needed to have skated in two events — Kitchener will be his only international competition before the Vancouver Olympics open Feb. 12.

"I think he's ready to go, and he's just kind of now getting back into the competition mode," Slipchuk said. "He's looking forward to getting to Skate Canada and getting back out competing."

Slipchuk said Chan wasn't the only skater he was visiting as he kept tabs on the national team members' training.

"I get out to see all our potential Olympic team members … it's more just a visit to make sure everything is on track, or if there's anything they need from our end," Slipchuk said. "It's more a checkup than anything."

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