Thursday, February 20, 2014

John Tavares done for NHL season with torn MCL, meniscus: Report

It's an NHL club's worst fear every four years and for the New York Islanders, that reality is slowly sinking in — after seeing their best player go down during the Winter Games.

John Tavares will miss the remainder of the NHL season, according to a league source, after suffering a knee injury while playing for Canada in the Olympics.

The source said Tavares may need surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament and a torn meniscus in his left knee, but that determination will be made when Tavares returns to Long Island from Sochi. He is staying with Canada through its final two games of the Olympics to attend the medal ceremony.

He should be ready for training camp in September.

Tavares, the Islanders captain, leads the team with 66 points. In his four-plus seasons since joining the Islanders as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Tavares has been very durable, having missed only four games, including one this season with a minor hip injury.

The NHL star was hurt when he tried to sneak past Latvia's Arturs Kulda along the boards in the second period of Canada's quarterfinal game on Wednesday, but his left leg banged awkwardly with Kulda's leg and then the boards.

Tavares could not put any weight on the leg and hobbled off to the dressing room. He was initially ruled out just for the remainder of the Olympic tournament, but a MRI exam on Thursday in Sochi revealed the full damage.

The Islanders do not return to action from the Olympic break until Feb. 27. They are 12 points out of the final playoff spot with 22 games to go.

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