Alex Ovechkin back in Russia’s lineup to face France (Updated)

May 22

(ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 12:51 p.m.: Russia advanced with a 3-0 win over France. Ovechkin wore a knee brace as he played through the contest but the winger hopes he won’t need it moving forward, according to Slava Malamud of Sport Express.

 

 

Alex Ovechkin is back on the ice as captain of the Russian national team Thursday as they take on France in the quarterfinals of the IIHF World Championships.

For the Washington Capitals, it’s good news that Ovechkin, who is believed to have sprained his right MCL when he absorbed an open-ice hip check from Marcus Kink of Germany during a preliminary-round game Sunday, wasn’t seriously injured and hasn’t been sidelined long term. On the other hand, there’s concern that the team’s star winger is putting himself in harm’s way by continuing to play in the world championships.

Sunday’s scene in the immediate aftermath of the hit was frightening as Ovechkin was unable to support himself to stand. But in the days since Ovechkin has been walking without crutches, but with a limp, and participated in Russia’s practice Wednesday.

While the initial sprain wasn’t expected to impact Ovechkin’s availability for NHL training camp in September, by returning to the lineup he runs the risk of suffering another injury. So now, the Capitals’ rooting interest in these world championships turns to hoping Ovechkin can endure game action without experiencing any additional negative effects.

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