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Injury forces Plushenko out of Rostelecom Cup

Three-time Olympic medalist to be replaced by countryman Menshov
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Evgeni Plushenko's bid at winning a fourth Olympic medal suffered a setback Thursday. -Getty Images

Evgeni Plushenko has withdrawn from next week's Rostelecom Cup after injuring himself at practice, the Figure Skating Federation of Russia announced Wednesday. The three-time Olympic medalist's spot will be filled by his countryman, Konstantin Menshov.

Plushenko appeared to be on the road recovery from back surgery, which he underwent in January. He competed in and easily won the Volvo Open Cup last week in Riga, Latvia, landing a quad and two triple Axels in his free skate. 

The 31-year-old, however, suffered a knee injury while practicing Wednesday and will not take part in the Grand Prix event he has won more times (eight) than any other.

"Zhenya (Evgeni) can train, but it's been recommended that he wait for competition in order to rule out any possible negative consequences," Plushenko's coach, Alexei Mishin, was quoted as saying on the Russian federation's website.

The injury comes at a critical time, as Plushenko is in the running to be Russia's lone men's representative at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"It's obviously a shame that this has happened," Russian federation president Alexander Gorshkov told the news service R-Sport. "Plushenko's an outstanding athlete; for many, he's an idol."

Menshov most recently placed eighth at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo. The 2011 Russian champion took fourth last season at the Rostelecom Cup.