Bode Miller played it cautious the last few weeks, waiting for his surgically repaired back to recover before racing again.
But his return on Thursday proved to be perilous as he crashed and suffered a badly cut leg at the world championships in Beaver Creek, Colo., that required surgery.
Miller took to Twitter following the surgery: "Out of a successful surgery for a severed hamstring tendon. Feeling lucky since things could have been way worse."
Miller had not competed since having surgery in November. He was leading midway down the hill when he skied too close to a gate.
The 37-year-old clipped the gate in the super-G, spinning around backward and somersaulting down the hill, the Associated Press reported. He was able to get his skis back on to finish the run.
Hannes Reichelt of Austria won gold, Dustin Cook of Canada took the silver and Adrien Theaux of France earned the bronze.