Ailing Plushenko drops out of Europeans

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ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) -- Former Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko of Russia withdrew from the European figure skating championships because of a back problem after a fall during the short program on Thursday.

The 2006 Olympic gold medalist fell while trying to execute a triple axel and placed only sixth in the short program.

He then scratched for Saturday's free skate.

Plushenko said upon arrival in Zagreb this week that he had a back problem. He had treatment in Munich in November for a herniated disc.

After numerous injuries, Plushenko is trying to revive his career for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi at home in Russia.

Plushenko is a three-time world champion and a seven-time European champion. He also has two Olympic silver medals.