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Saturday, April 13, 2002

Takanohana returns to practice

Yokozuna Takanohana, forced out of the last five major sumo tournaments with an injured right knee, took part in an extended practice session Friday.

Takanohana went through his routine with a 90-minute warm-up at the Futagoyama stable in Tokyo before taking the ring against four wrestlers from the junior makushita division in preparation for the upcoming summer tourney which gets under way on May 12.

"I didn't feel any peculiar (sensation in my knee). I'm in good condition. I'll take it slow," Takanohana said after showing some smooth footwork and a number of throws driving off the right leg in 44 practice matches.

Takanohana, who has won 22 championships in the makuuchi division in his career, tore ligaments in his right knee at last year's summer tournament and has missed an unprecedented five tournaments in a row.

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