REIGNING OLYMPIC men's figure skating champion Evan Lysacek will miss the Sochi Games because of a torn labrum in his left hip.
Lysacek tore the labrum, along with another muscle in his abdomen, during a hard fall in August. He pursued an aggressive course of treatment and returned to the ice in October. But the "excruciating pain" intensified as he increased his training, and doctors told him last week that he was risking permanent damage if he continued.
Lysacek made his announcement yesterday on the "Today" show. Earlier, he told the Associated Press he's "crushed" at not being able to compete and represent the United States in Sochi. He said even though he knew the injury was a serious one, he "really believed this was going to work out."
Lysacek said he will have to take time off the ice for the injury to completely heal, and surgery remains a possibility.
In other Olympic news:
* IOC president Thomas Bach said Russia will set up public protest zones in Sochi during the Winter Olympics, a move unlikely to defuse criticism of the country's human-rights record and a recent law banning gay "propaganda."
* Texas coach Mack Brown denied a report that he is ready to step down.
* Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown has been suspended for the Ducks' upcoming bowl game because of his role in an on-campus snowball fight that got out of hand. A YouTube video of Friday's fight shows players and other students pelting a car with dozens of snowballs in front of the Erb Memorial Union in Eugene. At one point, the overmatched driver opens his car door and is hit with a bucket of snow. The video had attracted more than 2.5 million views as of Monday afternoon.
* La Salle University soccer players Jason Plumhoff, John McCarthy and Joe Farrell were named to the NSCAA Mid-Atlantic All-Region team. Plumhoff earned first-team recognition while McCarthy and Farrell each were named to the third team.