New York Islanders Captain John Tavares was injured in Team Canada’s game against Latvia on Feb. 19 in the quarterfinal game of the Olympics. Tavares was skating fast along the boards and was checked hard by a Latvian player with an inadvertent knee to knee hit; he immediately fell to the ice grimacing. Any hockey fan or player knows the dangers of being hit knee to knee, and anyone watching the game could tell that the injury was quite significant and painful.
At first, the speculation from the hockey world was that Tavares suffered ligament damage in multiple places in his knee and that it could be very severe. However, after Tavares received an MRI earlier today there was a bit of hopeful news concerning the severity of the situation. Tavares has a torn MCL and a torn meniscus according to multiple reliable sources. Tavares will be out for the remainder of the Olympics and rest of the season for the Islanders. That being said, it is safe to say the Islanders might have dodged a bullet on this one.
When I saw the hit I immediately assumed it was injury that could have been career threatening or altering. Tavares is no stranger to contact, and he is one of the tougher big name forwards in the NHL. Tavares was not able to get up on his own, and I thought immediately that he had torn his ACL. The ACL is one of the most important ligaments in the knee, and rehabbing from it is extremely difficult, even with the advances in modern medicine. Many players that come back from an ACL tear are never the same as they were before it.
I am obviously upset as an Islander fan that Tavares is hurt, but a torn MCL and meniscus are two injuries in which Tavares can definitely overcome. Sources have also confirmed that Tavares should be ready for the start of training camp in September, which is crucial for the team to have any chance of success next season. The high amount of injuries in the Olympics to big name players is a serious issue in which the NHL might have to consider when deciding if they want to allow NHL players to compete four years from now in the winter games.