KITZBUEHEL, Austria — Bode Miller said it's "not likely" he will race in Saturday's World Cup downhill despite a strong final training run on Thursday, trailing leader Kjetil Jansrud of Norway by 0.69 seconds.
It would be Miller's first race this season, and last before next month's world championships in Beaver Creek, after recovering from surgery on a herniated disk two months ago.
The 37-year-old American completed two practice runs in Wengen last week before opting not to race in the Swiss resort.
Miller was more than five seconds off the lead in the opening training in Austria on Tuesday but significantly improved two days later.
"I am sure there's a discussion we'll have now because I was fast today," Miller said. "It's tough to make that kind of a call, but I would say it's not likely that I race because the risk is still high."
Miller underwent surgery just over eight weeks ago, and said any doctor would tell him not to race yet.
"I do sometimes defy the doctors but in this case it's probably a good idea to listen to them," he said.
The downhill on the challenging Streif course is the only major race lacking on Miller's victory list.
"There is a reason why they call this the toughest race in the world," the American said. "There is no margin for error. You make one small mistake here and you end up in the hospital. I've got to be smart about it ... It's just the risk management. Obviously, I do want to try to be safe but I want to win, also."
With wife Morgan and son Nate waiting in the finish area, Miller looked far more confident during his run on the 3.3-kilometer course than two days earlier.
The American avoided visible mistakes during the 1 minute, 55 seconds of his run and was loudly cheered by thousands of spectators watching the training from the stands. Only five racers were faster.
Miller said his fitness was no obstacle and his equipment worked better than in the opening training.
"The other day, I had no grip, I had no balance, I felt really awkward," he said. "Today I felt it right away that I had a little better grip, and the balance was good. I still have to back off in places because the risk is so high. If you just get caught on the edge a little bit, the compression force is so big on your body because the snow is so hard. It's unbelievable."
The pressure on his back is the point that worries Miller the most.
"If you hit one bump and your skis stick, it's like having a car dropped on your back," he said. "It's just a matter of making sure I don't make any backward steps for my back."
U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearich told The Associated Press that "we keep doing everything we can to get (Miller) ready."
"We together make the right decisions at the right time," Rearick said. "It's very sensitive. Right now, it's a critical time ... For sure he needs miles, for sure he needs training, and for sure he is not race ready right now. We need to make the steps to get there."
Jansrud, who also led Tuesday's training, finished 0.20 seconds ahead of Italy's Christof Innerhofer, who recovered from a nasty crash two days earlier.
The Hanhenkamm weekend starts with a super-G and a combined event on Friday, and is concluded with a slalom on Sunday.
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