Lindsey Vonn ain't throwing in the towel just yet ... but she's close ... saying she's still holding out hope she won't have to retire from skiing after suffering another major knee injury.
Vonn pulled out of the World Cup super-G run at Cortina in Italy on Sunday due to pain in her knee -- the latest in a spectacular career riddled with injuries.
Now, the 34-year-old Vonn -- the greatest female downhill skier ever -- is opening up about the reality she might have to hang up her skis for good.
"After a lot of physical therapy and time to clearly think things through, we have come to some conclusions about my knee," Vonn said on Wednesday.
"First, we discovered the reason I had so much pain and muscle shut down in Cortina was due to an impact injury to my peroneal nerve."
Vonn says the pain got worse each day and by Sunday "my lower leg was in a lot of pain and my muscles had completely shut down."
"Now that we know the problem the next issue is fixing it. So far we haven’t found a solution and as a result I will not be able to compete in tomorrow’s downhill training run. However, since this is a new 'injury' per say, I remain hopeful that we can fix it."
"I’m taking things day by day and we will see what happens."
"I know that I might not get the ending to my career that I had hoped for, but if there is a chance, I will take it. Thanks for all of the support you have shown me, it helps keep me going."