Vonn pleased with progress

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By Simon Evans

WHISTLER (Reuters) - Olympic downhill favorite Lindsey Vonn's shin injury is improving and she may be able to race through the pain, the American said on Thursday.

A day after holding a news conference to describe the "excruciating pain" of her week-old injury, Vonn was in her skis at the start area of the downhill course having warmed up for a training run.

Although fog and snow led to the cancellation of the run after just two skiers had gone, Vonn, who took painkillers before going up the hill, was pleased with the progress of her injury.

"I was really happy to be back on snow today even if it was for only one free ski run," Vonn said on Facebook.

"My shin was still very painful, but I feel like the injury is finally progressing a bit. The pain level has gone down from a sharp debilitating pain to something that I feel I may be able to grit my teeth through. So that really puts a smile on my face," she said.

"I won't know the full extent of what I am dealing with until I actually get on the downhill course," she said.

Vonn was pleased with the cancellation of the session which provided extra time for her bruised muscle to recover.

"Generally I am disappointed when a training run is canceled, but in this situation I definitely welcome the extra day to heal," she said.

The American is scheduled to train on Friday for the super combined but the bad weather in Whistler could threaten that session as well.

Vonn's husband, former U.S. Olympic skier Thomas who works closely with his wife, said further cancellations would not be a problem.

"A couple of days could help Lindsey," Vonn told Reuters, adding that she had come through her free ski warm-up well.

"It has been a good day for her. There is pain there for sure but I followed her down and she came through it well," he added.

"It has been a positive day and things are getting better, day-to-day."

Twice on Thursday organizers sent down skiers but on each occasion the run was halted after just one woman had descended.

Italian Lucia Recchia tentatively completed the first descent before the run was halted for around 25 minutes.

Then American Stacey Cook went down and suffered a heavy crash into the safety fence.

Cook was taken by helicopter to a medical facility but was released in the afternoon with no reported injuries.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)