Montreal Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin confirmed Tuesday that injured defenseman Andrei Markov's return to action prior to the end of the month is "out of the question."
Markov is recovering from a second operation to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a span of seven months. He first tore the ligament in Game 1 of the second round of the 2009 playoffs, and then tore it again seven games into his comeback on Nov. 13, 2010.
Renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews performed the most recent surgery, Dec. 8, 2010 in Florida.
Markov traveled to Florida on Oct. 9 to visit with Andrews and remains there, with Martin saying he should spend another week training under his surgeon's watchful eye before returning to Montreal.
"He just needs to build the strength in his leg," Martin said.
Martin said Tuesday that the team is following the doctor's suggestions and that
recovery from a second surgery on the same knee takes longer than the first recovery.
The absence of Markov, combined with injuries to Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli, is part of the reason the Canadiens have started 1-2-1.