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Injury shelves Tavares for weekend; maybe longer

by Shawn P. Roarke
John Tavares, the consensus No. 1 pick for the 2009 Entry Draft, missed most of the London Knights' Ontario Hockey League weekend action after suffering a shoulder injury in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Windsor Spitfires.

London General Manager Mark Hunter said in Monday's edition of the London Free Press that Tavares may not be ready for this Friday's home date against the Erie Otters. Tavares already missed losses Saturday and Sunday after being crushed by Taylor Hall in Friday's game.

"It's day-to-day," Hunter said.

The team is not identifying which shoulder Tavares injured Friday night, but did say that X-rays came back negative. is reporting Tavares suffered a sprained acromioclavicular joint in his shoulder and will be re-evaluated in a week.
The AC joint is located in the shoulder and it provides the ability for the shoulder to rise and fall.

Tavares injured his right shoulder last month in the CHL-NHL Top Prospects Game in Oshawa, Ont., when Zack Kassian blasted Tavares with a clean hit. Tavares said Friday night the injury in the Windsor game was to his other shoulder.

Hall's hit was eerily similar to the hit Kassian delivered, something that didn't go unnoticed by anyone -- including Hall -- at Friday's game at the sold-out John Labatt Centre. Ironically, Hall is the odds-on favorite to go No. 1 in the 2010 Entry Draft.

"Any time you have a chance to knock out a player of that caliber, you take it," Hall told the London Free Press. "It was a good play for our team. You never want to see anyone get hurt but I saw an opportunity to throw a hit. John came around the net and for a split-second he put his head down and I took my shot.

"When I saw him come around there, I thought right away of the Kassian hit. That's what happens in a game like this. I got hit. Their guys got hit."

Even Dale Hunter, the Knights' coach, couldn't complain about the hit that knocked his star out of the game and helped contribute to a disheartening 4-3 loss to London's main rival for the top spot in the Ontario Hockey League.

"It was a good hit," he said. "It was a good game. They (the Knights) played hard. All game."

London traded for Tavares in early January to bolster its OHL and Memorial Cup hopes, sending a huge package to Oshawa for the rights to hockey's most-prized prospect, a player that has been No. 1 on the 2009 Entry Draft board almost since he was a 14-year-old applying for "exceptional-player status" to gain early entry into the OHL.

Tavares has 15 goals and 9 assists in 11 games with London to give him league-leading totals of 41 goals and 78 points.
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