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Staal avoids surgery to repair damaged knee

Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal (12) passes the puck after falling against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period of their NHL hockey gam
Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal (12) passes the puck after falling against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period of their NHL hockey gam

(Reuters) - Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal will not require surgery to repair knee ligament damage sustained while playing for Canada at the ice hockey world championships, the National Hockey League team said on Saturday.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said on the team's website that a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test revealed a third-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament and rehabilitation should last three months.

It is expected Staal will be healthy and ready to start the 2013-14 season.

Staal sustained the injury in a knee-on-knee hit with Sweden's Alexander Edler during the first period of Thursday's quarter-final loss in Stockholm, leaving the Canadian forward on the ice in visible pain and clutching his right knee.

The Canadian was helped off the ice and did not return to the game, which Sweden went on to win 3-2 in a shootout.

Edler, a defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks, was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct on the play and suspended for the rest of the championships on Friday.

Sweden advanced to the world championship gold medal game with a win over Finland on Saturday and will play the United States or Switzerland in the final.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Gene Cherry)

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