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Murkowski Sustains Knee Injury While Skiing in Alaska

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, tore two ligaments and cartilage in her left knee on Sunday while skiing at Alyeska Ski Resort.

Murkowski, an expert skier, fell while skiing on the south face of the mountain about noon Sunday, tumbling more than 300 feet down the mountain and tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (acl), medial collateral ligament (mcl) and lateral meniscus.

"I've been skiing all my life, and this was just one of those unfortunate accidents that can occur on the slopes on any given day," said Murkowski, whose two sons are avid high school ski racers and whose husband is also an accomplished skier.

Murkowski was treated at Alyeska by Dr. Eli T. Powell, an orthopedic surgeon, who recently retired as Commander of the 3rd Medical Group at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The Powells and the Murkowskis are friends - their teenage sons have raced together - and the Powells were at Mount Alyeska on Sunday on a family ski outing.

Murkowski took a flight back to Washington, D.C., Sunday evening in time to cast votes on the Senate floor Monday. She attended a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this morning, and went for an MRI exam on her knee this afternoon, before returning to the Senate for late afternoon votes.

It is expected that Powell, who served as commander of the main U.S. military hospital in Iraq, will perform surgery on Murkowski's knee in Anchorage during the Easter congressional recess.

"The acl, mcl and meniscus tears are common ski injuries, a triad that we often see," said Powell. "We anticipate a full recovery and I expect to see Senator Murkowski back on the ski slopes next year."


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