Staal to miss 3 offseason months with sprained MCL

The Carolina Hurricanes say they expect captain Eric Staal to be

ready to start next season after suffering a scary-looking knee

injury during an international tournament.

The team said Staal underwent an MRI on his right knee Saturday

and it revealed a third-degree sprain of his medial collateral

ligament.

The team says Staal won’t need surgery and he should need only

three months of rehab.

Staal’s injury Thursday during the world hockey quarterfinals in

Stockholm certainly could have been a lot worse.

The captain of Canada’s team collapsed to the ice in obvious

pain following a knee-to-knee collision with Sweden’s Alex

Edler.

The durable Staal, 28, has missed only 14 games during nine NHL

seasons. He led the Hurricanes with 35 assists and 53 points.