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Florence, opting to forego Brazilian closeouts so he can be at the top of his game for Fiji. Photo: ASP.

A quick injury update on the up-coming Billabong Rio Pro which starts next week. Still not fully recovered from the ankle injury he sustained on the Goldie, John John has officially withdrawn from the Rio Pro and therefore won't be able to defend his title. Originally claiming he'd be back in time for Bells, the injury has clearly proved more serious than originally thought:

“I am going to take my time and wait for my ankle to heal 100% before competing,' said Florence, "I am looking forward to being healthy and ready for Fiji and the rest of the year."

After his mind-blowing performance during that historic swell at Cloudbreak last year, it sure would be a shame if the Hawaiian didn't make it back in time for the Fiji Pro and it just happened to crank again.

Another world tour competitor to pull out of the Rio Pro last minute is Portugal's Tiago Pires, due to a knee injury he sustained while free surfing at home a couple of weeks ago. He originally hoped to recover in time for the Brazilian leg, which in the past has proved a strong event for the powerful natural footer, “I’ve pulled a ligament in my left knee while surfing this past Saturday," said Tiago, "Usually they predict four-to-six weeks with these type of injuries but I’m working hard everyday to recover for Rio. I’m doing two sessions of physiotherapy a day hoping that I can be close to 100% before the event." Unfortunately it hasn't quite panned out that way, announcing on Facebook a few days ago that he wouldn't make the event after all.

In his sixth year as a member of the Top 34, and a slow start to the year with a 25th on the Gold Coast and a 13th at Bells Beach, Tiago will no doubt have to work extremely hard to maintain his place on tour.

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Scraping back on tour in 2012 by the skin of his teeth, it looks like Tiags has got his work cut out for him again in 2013. Photo: ASP

All of this bad news comes as actual good news for Yadin Nicol who, as second alternate, will get to enjoy another world tour appearance after being sidelined by a series of injuries himself. The ASP caught up with the Australian recently to find out where his head's at going into the Rio Pro - click here for the full interview.