Leafs centre Tavares suffers oblique injury while practising with Canada

Toronto Maple Leafs centre John Tavares suffered an oblique injury while practising with the Canadian team ahead of the world hockey championship and will miss the tournament, Hockey Canada said Thursday.

The Maple Leafs said Tavares will return to Toronto for further evaluation by the team’s medical staff and a further update will be issued at a later date.

“We are disappointed that John will not be able to participate as a member of Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, but after contacting the Toronto Maple Leafs we agreed it was best for him to return home for further evaluation,” Jason Botterill, a member of Canada’s management group, said in a statement. “We know John was excited about the opportunity to wear the Maple Leaf once again, and we were excited to have John as a member of our team and to welcome his many years of NHL and international experience.”

Oblique injuries usually require at least a few weeks of recovery. It wasn’t immediately clear how the 28-year-old centre suffered the injury.

The news on Tavares came shortly before the Maple Leafs announced that defenceman Travis Dermott was scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery and will miss at least six months.

Tavares was one of the few stars on Canada’s roster. He had a career-high 47 goals with 41 assists in 82 games with the Maple Leafs in the regular season, and added two goals and three assists in seven playoff games.

Canada opens world championship play against Finland on Friday in Kosice, Slovakia.

The 28-year-old Tavares has represented Canada at three previous world championships (2010, 2011 and 2012). He was also part of Canada’s championship team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, where he suffered a left knee injury in a game against Latvia and missed the remainder of the 2013-14 NHL season.

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