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Canada´s Alexis Lafreniere status remains unclear after knee injury

Alexis Lafrenière’s knee injury will keep him out of Canada’s next match at the world junior hockey championship, but the star winger hasn’t been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

The 18-year-old was helped off the ice early in the second period of his team’s embarrassing 6-0 defeat to Russia on Saturday after twisting his left knee on an awkward fall.

Canadian assistant coach Andre Tourigny said Sunday an MRI done on the joint revealed no fracture or structural damage to ligaments.

Lafreniere has been ruled out of Canada’s game versus Germany on Monday at 9 a.m. ET, but he could return later on in the under-20 event.

“He’s smiling around the boys and making jokes,” Tourigny said. “He’s pretty loose right now, so it’s a good sign.”

Lafreniere, who’s projected to be the first overall pick in next year’s draft, suffered the injury in the second period when he crashed into the Russian net.

The 18-year-old seemed to be in considerable pain and needed help to get off the ice. He was seen limping at Team Canada’s hotel after the match, but did not need crutches. 

The native of Saint-Eustache, Quebec has 23 goals and 47 assists over 32 games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL this season. He had a goal and three assists in Canada’s victory over the United States on Boxing Day.

The Canadians, who sit with one win and one loss in a congested Group B at the world juniors, plays host Czech Republic on Tuesday before the medal round starts Thursday.

The biggest question ahead of the Germany tilt is one that’s dominated the conversation all month — the crease. Starting goalie Nico Daws has allowed eight goals on 50 shots in just over four periods of action. Joel Hofer, meanwhile, stopped made 20 saves in relief versus Russia, but hasn’t played a full game since Dec. 8 in the WHL.

It’s been even longer for Olivier Rodrigue, the third option. He hasn’t seen any action since selection camp.

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