OMAHA - Frank Carroll watched Evan Lysacek skate Monday.
And that made Lysacek's longtime coach feel deep and wistful regret that the reigning Olympic champion is physically unable to compete at the U.S. Championships.
Lysacek has had two setbacks in what was to be his comeback season. One was a groin injury that forced him to withdraw from Skate America in October. The other was a sports hernia that needed surgery in mid-November.
"It was serious, extensive surgery," Carroll said as he walked into CenturyLink Center Thursday afternoon. "It is going to be a long recovery."
That is why Lysacek's Monday workout was limited to simple stroking, some footwork and a few single jumps.
Even that was enough to impress Carroll with how good Lysacek looks artistically.
"I don't know whether it is from his being on `Dancing With the Stars,' but his movements are so much more beautiful now," Carroll said. "With his height, which gives him the ability to have a long line, and his better understanding of what `line,' means, he looks like John Curry.''
Curry, the 1976 Olympic champion, is considered one of the greatest ice artists in history.
"I put on his short program music, which is Latin, and Evan's movements looked like Jose Greco," Carroll said, referring to the famous Flamenco dancer.
Carroll would not speculate on how soon the public might be able to see Lysacek, 27, use those new skills in a competition. His last was the 2010 Olympics.
That may yet prove to be Lysacek's last ever.
Groin injuries are notoriously hard to heal, especially in a sport like figure skating where those muscles are under constant stress on jump takeoffs.
"He has these dreams (of trying to compete in a third Olympics), and he is doing everything he can to make them happen," Carroll said.
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