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Carolina captain Eric Staal to miss 3 months of off-season with sprained MCL

RALEIGH, N.C. – The Carolina Hurricanes say they expect captain Eric Staal to be ready to start next season after suffering a scary-looking knee injury during an international tournament.

The team said Staal underwent an MRI on his right knee Saturday and it revealed a third-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament.

The team says Staal won’t need surgery and he should need only three months of rehab.

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Staal’s injury Thursday during the world hockey quarterfinals in Stockholm certainly could have been a lot worse.

The captain of Canada’s team collapsed to the ice in obvious pain following a knee-to-knee collision with Sweden’s Alex Edler.

The durable Staal, 28, has missed only 14 games during nine NHL seasons. He led the Hurricanes with 35 assists and 53 points.