By Gene Cherry
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - Former Olympic and world 400 meters champion Jeremy Wariner will miss this month's world championships with a foot injury, his agent said on Tuesday.
Wariner, a three-time 400 meters global champion and a key player in the United States' Olympic and world 4x400 meters relay victories, tore a ligament in the second toe of his left foot while training in July, his agent Deon Minor told Reuters.
"Jeremy said he felt a pop while he was training," Minor said in a telephone interview. "Then it was like he could not even work out."
The injury will not require surgery, but recovery time of eight to 12 weeks will be needed, Minor said.
Wariner, 27, had hoped to compete in both the 400 and 4x400 relay at the August 27-September 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
"He really wanted to get back out there because it has been a tough year," Minor said of the small injuries that have plagued Wariner.
The world's top-ranked 400 meters runner in 2010, Wariner had just the 12th fastest time this season and was beaten in the U.S. championships/world trials by collegian Tony McQuay.
"I am disappointed that I will not be able to try to regain the world title in the 400 meters in Daegu," Wariner said in a statement. "Right now my focus is to get healthy, prepare for the 2012 season and try for my second Olympic gold medal in the 400."
Wariner won the 2004 Olympics 400 meters title and followed that with world championships in 2005 and '07. He was runner-up to fellow American LaShawn Merritt at the 2008 Olympics and '09 world championships.
He also helped the Americans to 4x400 relay gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics and the 2005, '07 and '09 world championships.
Wariner is expected to be replaced on the U.S. team by fourth-placed trials finisher Jamaal Torrance.
Merritt, who is returning from a doping suspension, McQuay and Greg Nixon also will run the event for the Americans.
(Editing by Ian Ransom)