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Friday September 24th, 2021 4:38PM

Tavares has concussion, knee injury; likely to miss series

By The Associated Press
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Toronto captain John Tavares will probably miss the rest of the first-round series against the Montreal Canadiens after sustaining a concussion and a knee injury during Game 1.

The center's availability for the rest of the postseason is uncertain, if the Maple Leafs advance.

General manager Kyle Dubas said there is no structural damage to the head, neck and spine after Tavares took an accidental knee to the face from Canadiens forward Corey Perry.

Speaking by conference call before Game 2 on Saturday night, Dubas indicated the knee issue is expected to keep Tavares out of the lineup at least two weeks. The best-of-7 series would end May 31 if it went the distance.

“The head injury and concussion, I think it’s very difficult to place a timeline on when someone’s going to return,” Dubas said. “We handle those in a very conservative nature, and handle them very sensitively."

Tavares was checked to the ice in the first period of Thursday’s 2-1 loss by Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot. He fell into the path of an onrushing Perry, who was unable to avoid contact. Tavares lay motionless before trying to get up as trainers and doctors from both teams provided attention inside an empty, eerily quiet Scotiabank Arena.

Tavares was removed from the ice by stretcher and taken to St. Michael’s Hospital. He received a CT scan and MRI and was discharged Friday.

Tavares, who signed a seven-year, $77 million contract in free agency in 2018, was Toronto’s third-leading scorer during the NHL’s pandemic-shortened season. The former New York Islander had 19 goals and 31 assists in playing all 56 games.

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