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Ryan Lochte skipping Charlotte meet

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Phelps' second comeback meet will not include a chance to go against his biggest rival.

Ryan Lochte announced Tuesday he was withdrawing from the Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte because of continued problems with his surgically repaired left knee, missing a chance to compete at his new training base.

Lochte was injured in November during an encounter with an enthusiastic fan. He missed five months before returning to the pool for the Grand Prix season, beating Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly last month in Mesa, Arizona.

Dr. Jason Batley of Team Elite, where Lochte has trained since moving from Florida to the SwimMAC facility in October, said it wouldn't be wise for the swimmer to compete while experiencing pain in the knee.

"We are going to exercise precautionary measures this weekend, as his knee continues to bother him," Batley said. "We don't want him to push through pain if that would be counterproductive to ongoing recovery. While we want him back quickly, we want him back safely as well."

Lochte continues to train and will be at the meet, which begins Thursday, to support his new team. He also will conduct an autograph session for fans.

"It's disappointing, definitely," Lochte said. "I was really looking forward to swimming in Charlotte now that it's my home, in front of all of the SwimMAC fans. I still plan to be at the meet and will do my best to be a good host."

Phelps is planning to compete in two events at Charlotte, the 100 fly and 200 freestyle, both Friday.

Lochte had entered a staggering seven events, although it's doubtful he would have competed in them all. He was scheduled to race in both of Phelps' events, as well as the 200 individual medley, 400 IM, 100 backstroke, 200 back and 100 free.