Surgery is expected after an MRI in Sochi revealed the extent of the damage from a hit along the right wing boards by Latvia's Arturs Kulda -- the same player who was suspended three games after concussing Radek Martinek at the World Championships in 2011.
Based on the initial assessment, Arthur Staple of Newsday reports Tavares should be ready for the start of the 2014-15 season.
It is the first major injury of Tavares' NHL career. Coming off a Hart Trophy finalist season in 2012-13, Tavares currently ranked third in NHL scoring with 66 points in 59 games. He'll likely still end up the team's second-leading scorer on the season.
With Frans Nielsen also nursing a broken hand, the Islanders will return from the Olympic break without their top two centers. Others, such as unrestricted free agents Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald, are likely headed out by the March 5 trade deadline that follows.
That doesn't bode well for their already shattered hopes for this season, where they rank 26th overall with 52 points through 60 games. But it does seem to cement that the conditional first-round draft pick they traded to the Buffalo Sabres for Vanek will be rendered in 2015 rather than this summer, where a top-10 pick -- top-5 even -- seems a certainty.
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