Nail Yakupov, considered by many to the be the top player available in the 2012 NHL Draft, will not require surgery after suffering a knee injury playing for the Russian National Junior Team in the gold-medal game of the 2012 World Junior Championship last week.
Yakupov underwent an MRI on Sunday to determine the extent of his injury. According to Mark Glavin, assistant general manager of the Sarnia Sting, surgery is not required.
"The MRI indicated no significant damage," Glavin told NHL.com via email. "He will continue therapy both with Dr. John Vargo here in Sarnia and at the Fowler Clinic in London. His return is expected in three-to-four weeks."
Yakupov, who won a silver medal for Russia at the WJC after producing 9 assists and a plus-4 rating in seven games, has 21 goals and 53 points in 26 games this season for the Sting of the Ontario Hockey League. His teammate in Sarnia, fellow Russian Alex Galchenyuk, is out for the season after undergoing ACL surgery. Galchenyuk is also considered to be a high first-round draft pick in June.
Yakupov is currently in his second OHL season. In 2010-11, the 5-foot-10 1/2, 189-pound right wing broke Steven Stamkos' Sarnia records for a first-year player with 49 goals and 101 points.
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