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Hyman likely to miss start of next season for Maple Leafs

Forward to have surgery for torn ACL, expected to need at least six months to recover

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Zach Hyman likely will miss the start of next season with the Toronto Maple Leafs because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee sustained during their seven-game Eastern Conference First Round loss to the Boston Bruins.

The 26-year-old forward will have surgery to repair the tear Monday and is expected to need at least six months to recover.

"I've never been through something like this but a lot of athletes have. We have great doctors, great surgeons," Hyman said. "I'll have that surgery Monday and then we have the best recovery team here. I've got a whole summer to recover so I guess that's the only bright side of this, is that I have lots of time to get ready for next year and make sure I'm healthy and ready to go."

Hyman said the injury occurred when he was trying to check Boston forward Brad Marchand at the end of Game 4.

"I went to go hit Marchand and it wasn't even a big hit or anything," he said. "I just hit him and bounced off of him and landed on my right leg when it was straightened out. It was awkward; I came back on it and collapsed on it. I thought it was just a stinger and it would settle down."

Despite the injury Hyman averaged 18:14 per game in the final three games of the series, fourth among Maple Leafs forwards after Mitchell Marner (20:49), John Tavares (20:08) and Auston Matthews (18:53).

"I was able to stand on it, put pressure on it and skate on it so then it was just dealing with the pain," said Hyman, who scored one goal in the series. "I didn't know what it was at the time and that probably helped, but really I just went out and played."

Though the injury impacted Hyman's effectiveness, coach Mike Babcock said he greatly admired how Hyman was able to push through and remain in the lineup.

"When he got hurt it was three games before the end and it obviously affected our team," Babcock said. "He does the work on that line (with Tavares and Marner), he goes to get the puck all the time. He couldn't put weight on his leg in the face-offs so that affected his penalty killing. What I like about Hyman is he doesn't say nothing. He actually told us one time he thought he was getting better. In his heart and in his mind he was playing hockey for the Maple Leafs and he was going to play hard and do everything he could."

Babcock said he would not be surprised if Hyman recovered faster than six months.

"I know there's timelines and everything," Babcock said. "He's usually ready way before the timeline is so we'll see how it goes."

Hyman set personal NHL-bests in goals (21) and points (41) in 71 regular-season games. A fifth-round pick (No. 123) in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, he has 115 points (50 goals, 65 assists) in 251 games in four NHL seasons, all with Toronto.

"Being able to score 20 goals this year in the NHL is definitely an accomplishment and a milestone," Hyman said. "It's something I set out and hoped I could do if I tried to improve and tried to get better and put time in. That was definitely a personal milestone that was exciting for me."

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