Markov out for three months?

While it will be several days before doctors can make a complete diagnosis, there are unconfirmed reports that defenceman Andrei Markov could be out of the lineup for as long as three months.

Markov suffered an injury to his surgically repaired right knee Saturday night when he had a knee-to-knee collision with Carolina’s Eric Staal as they chased a puck into the corner. Markov’s knee hit the board but it appeared that any damage had been done before then. He threw his gloves off immediaterly after the contact and punched the boards and he lay writing on the ice. Two teammates assisted him off the ice and he wasn’t putting any weight on his left leg.

It’s the third injury Markov has suffered in the past 13 months. He suffered a torn tendon when his leg was sliced by Carey Price’s skate in a freak asccident in the 2009-10 season opener in Toronto. He injured his knee in the second round of the playoffs of the playoffs against Pittsburgh and had knee surgery in the off-season. He missed the first 10 games of the regular season In the seven games since his return, Markov was averaging close to 23 minutes a game, had a goal and two assists and was a plus-2.

After the Canadiens traded Ryan O’Byrne last week, general manager Pierre Gauthier expressed confidence in Alexandre Picard and said the Canadiens had several defence prospects in Hamilton. That depth will be put to the test if Markov is out for an extended period.

The latest injury also puts any talk of a new contract for Markov on the back burner. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

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