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Penguins' Malkin unlikely to return after tearing right ACL, MCL

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Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011

Evgeni Malkin's fifth NHL season will be his worst — and shortest.

Tears to the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee will require at least six months' recovery, multiple sources confirmed Saturday.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said after practice at Consol Energy Center that Malkin is expected to miss an extended period. Malkin is "discussing his options," Bylsma said.

Sources said the options include consulting with an orthopedic surgeon independent of the club, and they indicated Malkin will not have surgery for at least a week because of knee swelling.

However, with the Stanley Cup Final scheduled to be over by mid-June, Malkin would need a miraculous recovery to play again this season.

He was injured Friday night early in the second period of the Penguins' 3-2 home win over the Buffalo Sabres. A collision with Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers near the boards ended with Myers falling on Malkin, whose right leg bent inward.

"The puck got dumped in the corner. I just wanted to engage him going in. We both kind of twisted up," Myers said after the game.

Malkin left the ice on his own accord and did not return.

"You are talking about Evgeni Malkin," Bylsma said. "Just getting back in the lineup and healthy, this is obviously a difficult injury for him."

Friday marked Malkin's return after missing five games because of a sinus infection. He missed four games in early December because of a sore left knee — a lingering injury dating to October but one he said this week was no longer a problem.

Malkin will finish the season with 15 goals and 37 points in 43 games — career lows. He had hoped for a bounce-back campaign from last season, when shoulder and foot injuries contributed to his career lows in games (67), goals (28) and points (77).

A two-time 100-point scorer and the regular-season scoring champion and the playoff MVP of the Penguins' 2009 Stanley Cup club, Malkin is tied with center Sidney Crosby as the team's highest paid players at $8.7 million a year.

Crosby is out indefinitely with a concussion. He has not played since Jan. 5.

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