Plushenko leads men after short program at European figure skating

Evgeni Plushenko returned from the flu and took the lead after the men's short program Friday at the European Figure Skating Championships.

&to=http://english.pravda.ru/sport/2002/02/15/26431.html' target=_blank>Plushenko, a three-time world and four-time European champion, leads 2004 European winner Brain Joubert of France and current world champion Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland.

Plushenko scored 82.80 points, followed by Joubert with 82.80 and Lambiel with 74.73, although the Swiss fell on his triple axel.

"I was on intravenous fluids for three days, and thanks to the doctor who got me back on my feet. There was a doubt whether I could come," Plushenko said. "It was a bit hard to skate, to breathe. I'm still coughing badly."