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Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko will return to the ice next week after knee surger. (AP Photo/Thomas Kienzle)

Thomas Kienzle/AP

Russian star Evgeny Plushenko will compete for the first time since the Vancouver Olympics at the Russian national championships early next week.

His agent, Ari Zakaryan, confirmed that the 2006 Olympic champion and the silver medalist from Vancouver, will compete at the event in Saransk, Russia (630 kilometres east of Moscow) – and has already arrived on the grounds. "I think he's going to be okay," Zakaryan said. "For him, it's a major achievement to be back at this event."

Plushenko hasn't competed since the Vancouver Olympics, because a few months after he won silver, the International Skating Union banned him from eligible competition because he withdrew from the Turin world championships that followed the Olympics and then skated in a couple of shows that were not sanctioned by the Russian federation,

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The ISU reinstated Plushenko in June, but the 29-year-old skater was forced to miss the Grand Prix circuit this season because he had surgeries on his knees, and his left knee continued to bother him into the fall season.

Eager to get on with it, Plushenko went back quickly to training, and aggravated the injury. Then he broke a bone in his hand.

Zakaryan says Plushenko's injuries are fine. Reports from Russia say Plushenko has been training quads, and he landed a triple Axel in an exhibition, but he is finding his second comeback even more difficult than the first.

Plushenko hadn't competed for three years when he made a comeback for the Vanvouver Olympics, and surprised everyone with his ability to get his difficult jumps back into his routines.

He says he is aiming for the Sochi Olympics, which would be his fourth Olympic Games.

Plushenko will compete on Monday and Tuesday in Russia.

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, the world pair silver medalists who finished second at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City earlier this month, are skipping the national championships to tend to injuries that bothered them in Quebec. Volosozhar has strained muscles in a thigh while Trankov has been suffering from a groin injury during his past two competitions.

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