Cope's injury will "require surgery and a long period of recuperation," according to the company. He will miss scheduled performances of The Firebird on February 6 and 23. Valeri Hristov will replace him in the role of Ivan Tsarevitch.
It is likely that the injury marks the end of Cope's long career, in which he partnered such stars as Sylvie Guillem and Darcy Bussell. Cope, who joined the Royal Ballet in 1982 and was named a principal in 1986, announced last fall that he would retire after the February performances and become a r_p_titeur, or rehearsal director, for the company.