New Delhi: Triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice plans to have shoulder surgery later this year after competing at the Oct. 3-14 Commonwealth Games in India.
Australian Rice has been struggling with her right shoulder since March and has had seven cortisone injections to help with the pain.
"Surgery is looking very possible at this point and I`m just trying to put it off," Rice told reporters at the Pan Pacific Championships. "I want to give it enough time for (the shoulder) to recover in time for the 2011 (Australian) trials in April."
Rice, who won both individual medleys at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and was part of Australia`s victorious 4x200 freestyle team, expects to be sidelined for about three months.
"It is only a clean-out, it`s not a reconstruction," the 22-year-old said after failing to qualify for the 50 metres butterfly at the Woolett Jr. Aquatics Center.
"They say four weeks out of the water and a 12-week rehab, so it`s not that bad. But I want to do it as soon as possible to give myself the right amount of time to prepare."
Because of her problem shoulder, Rice has scaled back her schedule at this week`s PanPacs from seven events to three, opting to miss her favoured medleys.
"I had been quite down ... because I don`t feel as though I should be on this team just because I`m not ready to race," she said after clocking 26.78 seconds in the heats.
"I`m just trying to really get myself up and motivated. I felt a lot better this morning. Hopefully I can keep racing because I think that is helping to motivate me for the Commonwealth Games."