The Norwegian legend has been struggling with flu and has opted not to compete in the 20km event in Ostersund.
”I’m healthy, but I realise that is still early to race. It will take a few more days. If I see progress in training, then I will make a statement on Saturday,” he said.
Norway’s Tarjei Boe, Jaroslav Soukup of the Czech Republic and France’s Simon Fourcade are other absentees due to illness or injury.
Meanwhile Martin Fourcade has said that retaining his World Cup title is not his primary objective this season.
"After my overall victory last season, the crystal ball is not the primary objective, especially with the World Championships [taking place]," he said as he looks forward to February's event in Nove Mesto.