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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2001

Taka aiming for March comeback

Grand champion Takanohana is on the road to recovery and could be making his comeback on sumo's raised ring at the spring tournament in Osaka next March, sumo sources said Tuesday.

Almost three months after undergoing an operation to remove bone chips from his right knee in Paris, Takanohana indicated that he hopes to be back in training at the start of next year depending on the outcome of a second series of tests on his knee.

"It's important not to rush things but hopefully I'll be able to start practicing at the start of next year, Takanohana told reporters at the Futagoyama stable in Tokyo.

Despite picking up the injury in a bout with ozeki Musoyama on the penultimate day of the summer tourney, Takanohana, grimacing in pain, soldiered on to victory in a playoff over fellow-yokozuna Musashimaru the next day while further worsening the damaged knee.

"Everything in life has a price attached to it. And on reflection, I think (the injury) is the price I paid for wrestling in that bout (against Musashimaru)," Takanohana said. "But if I hadn't gotten back on the ring, everything I've accomplished (in sumo) would have meant nothing," the 29-year-old Takanohana said, referring to his victory in May which brought him his 22nd Emperor's Cup.

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