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Six-time Olympic ski medallist Bode Miller is to undergo back surgery Monday that will likely keep him off the slopes until January, with the world championships on home snow starting early February.
The 37-year-old American, who became the oldest Olympic alpine ski medallist in history with a super-G bronze in February's Sochi Winter Games, has been training in Austria and the US resort of Copper Mountain over the last month.
But he has elected to undergo outpatient back surgery to "alleviate pain and discomfort", the US ski team said.
"He is hoping to still compete in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships this February in Vail/Beaver Creek," the team said.
Miller said he had been fighting discomfort in his back since the World Cup finals in March last year.
"After consultation with my medical team and coaches, I have decided to have outpatient back surgery today," he said.
"I am disappointed that I will miss some of the early season speed races, including Birds of Prey in Beaver Creek.
"Our expectation is that I will be able to train and race in January and be ready for world championships here at home in February."
Kyle Wilkens, the US ski team's medical director, offered up a word of caution, however, saying: "Bode's planned outpatient surgery is typical for this diagnosis.
"His return to training will be based on the extent of the surgery. We'll work with Bode, medical team, and his coaches to determine the best course of action for him."
Miller also won super-combined gold, downhill bronze and super-G silver at the 2010 Winter Olympics and silvers in giant slalom and combined at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.
He is a two-time overall World Cup winner (2005, 2008) and has won four world golds and a silver, the last coming in 2005.