Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle and is expected to be ready for the start of next season, Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider reported Monday night.
Kopitar was injured during Saturday afternoon's game against Colorado. There was initial hope that his recovery time would be limited to six weeks, but that changed following the results of an MRI.
Monday's exam revealed torn ligaments caused by a high ankle sprain, the team said, and Kopitar isn't likely to return to the ice until the middle of summer.
"It's just going to be a good test for this young hockey club," Kings coach Terry Murray said. "We'll be better when we come through it. There's no question about it. Guys are going to be in a higher situation, more important situation, and they'll grow immensely through this opportunity."
Kopitar suffered the injury in the second period Saturday, when he got tangled with Avalanche defenseman Ryan O'Byrne in the corner and got his right leg twisted as he fell backward toward the ice. Kopitar needed the assistance of teammates to get off the ice.
Kopitar has a team-high 73 points in 75 games this season. The Kings are also without second-leading scorer Justin Williams, who has a dislocated shoulder.
I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.
— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic