EAGLE-VAIL, Colo. – Mikaela Shiffrin has started down her road to recovery after tearing a ligament in her knee last weekend in Are, Sweden.

“We can’t predict when I’ll be able to get back to racing,” Shiffrin said. “The most important thing right now is being diligent about rehab and trying not to lose too much strength in my leg, so when I can get back on snow it will be a smooth transition.”

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Shiffrin tore the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in her right knee prior to the women’s Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom race in Are, Sweden, when she crashed during warmup. She also suffered a bone bruise. The 20-year-old defending World Cup slalom champion does not require surgery, just sufficient rest.

“For the most part this is a pretty ambiguous injury and my progress is going to depend on how I feel on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis,” she said. “My attitude is positive, spirits are high. Sometimes life stinks, but then again sometimes life is pretty incredible, so I’m motivated and I’m going to work as hard as I’m allowed to in order to come back strong, healthy, and prepared to win.”

Typically, grade 3 MCL tears require 4-8 weeks of healing time but the complicating bone bruise could hold Shiffrin off snow for longer if pain persists.

The technical ace who recently entered her first World Cup speed event, the super G at Lake Louise where she placed 15th, told the Denver Post while home recovering in Colorado that it is unlikely she will return to racing on the World Cup during the 2015-16 season.

“I’m hopeful,” Shiffrin told The Denver Post’s John Meyer. “I will be skiing by the end of the season, maybe training at full capacity. But back to competing before the end of the World Cup season, unlikely.”

If Shiffrin can return in time to defend her slalom globe, as there are four discipline races calendared from Jan. 31 onward, few fans might be all too surprised since the youngster has already made a career of pulling off what others have called impossible. Still, she maintains that she will not return to racing until she feels prepared enough to claim the top step of the podium.