Samantha Cesario has withdrawn from this month's figure skating Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. after a CT scan Thursday revealed fractured vertebrae. The injury is expected to keep her off the ice at least six to eight weeks.

The Oceanside senior, who had a similar injury when she was 12, was very disappointed. "It's hard when you work throughout the year and the thing you work for, you can't go to."

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Despite back pain last autumn, Cesario, 17, won the North Atlantic Regional tournament and Sectionals in November, qualifying for Nationals for a second time. Then, tests revealed inflammation around a disc - a common injury among skaters, often caused by excessive torque and a lack of recuperation time. A doctor last week said "the inflammation likely hid the fracture on the X-rays," Cesario's mother, Joanne, said.

Cesario worked with a physical therapist and avoided strenuous spins for several weeks to rest her back. But, in preparation for Nationals on Jan. 26, her workouts were kicked back up recently.

During a practice Tuesday, Cesario complained of severe pain and was sent for the CT scan, which showed a fracture in the Lumbar 5 vertebrae. Cesario will wear a back brace to help hasten the recovery, she said.

She had finished 14th in Nationals last January and, after a year spent working on jumps, was expected to have a better showing. Cesario hopes to compete again this summer.

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"I'm an athlete and I know injuries are part of it," she said, "but I'll recover and get past this."