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Leg injury to sideline Phaneuf 4-6 weeks

by Dan Rosen
Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf will miss 4-6 weeks after surgery to repair a laceration to his left leg suffered during Tuesday's game agianst the Ottawa Senators.

Phaneuf got tied up with Ottawa's Peter Regin just after the six-minute mark of the second period of Tuesday's game against the Senators and fell awkwardly. He suffered a cut deep enough on his left leg that he had to be helped off the ice and was taken immediately to a local hospital.

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, surgeons found "a nick" to the medial collateral ligament in Phaneuf's knee, which required "a few stitches to repair."

Following Tuesday's game, coach Ron Wilson said Brett Lebda likely will take Phaneuf's place in the lineup Wednesday in Washington (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, TSN).

"You can't replace Dion and what he brings to the team, but other people will have to step up in a leadership role and be vocal," Wilson told reporters following the Leafs' 3-2 loss to the Senators. "We've got a deep defense. Some guys will get some more minutes. We should be able to weather the storm."

Phaneuf's injury came not long after Burke publicly defended him against being a target for the fans' booing at Air Canada Centre. Burke held a press conference between the first and the second period Tuesday to show he has Phaneuf's back despite the fact that the first-year captain has only 4 assists and a team-worst minus-6 rating in 11 games.

"You're talking about a real small number of people and frankly I think it's a disgrace," Burke told reporters before Phaneuf got hurt. "Ten games in and I don't think I've ever had a player booed. I think it's really unfair to Dion because of the things he's brought. The mistakes he's made generally happen when we're behind and he's trying to make something happen.

"He's given us solid defensive-zone coverage. He's almost single-handedly changed the culture of our team."

To replace Phaneuf on the roster, the Leafs have called up Korbinian Holzer from the AHL Toronto Marlies. Holzer, a 2006 fourth-round pick from Germany playing his first season in North America, is scoreless with a minus-5 rating and 17 penalty minutes in eight AHL games.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl
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