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Avalanche captain set for second surgery, will miss 2023-24 season

DENVER – Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog is set to undergo cartilage transplant surgery on his right knee and expected to miss the entire 2023-24 NHL season.

The team on Tuesday announced that Landeskog will have the operation Wednesday in Chicago. Dr. Brian Cole at the Rush University Medical Center is scheduled to perform it.

Landeskog has not played since hoisting the Stanley Cup in Tampa, Florida, in late June 2022 after helping the Avalanche win their third title in franchise history. He was instrumental in that run, recording 22 points in 20 games.

The 30-year-old Swede also missed all this past season following knee surgery – his second of 2022. He was initially projected to miss 12 weeks after the operation in October; before the playoffs started he was ruled out entirely.

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Landeskog recently explained that his knee injury stems back to the 2020 bubble season when he was sliced by a skate in a playoff game against Dallas. He said he suffered a cartilage injury on the bottom of his patella.

The injury wasn’t so much an issue when he walked, but as he skated it was “just a different beast,” he acknowledged. “In the NHL, I mean, you’ve got to be able to do everything at top speed.”

Last month in a news conference, Landeskog said he remained confident he would play again.

“When? I don’t know,” he said. “It’s been a long road up to this point, but I’m hopeful and I’m optimistic and confident that eventually we’ll come out on the other side of this. But we haven’t quite gotten past it yet obviously.”

The top priority of the Avalanche has been to assist Landeskog “in any way possible in terms of getting solutions to help him get everything right,” general manager Chris MacFarland recently said.

“He’s a massive piece for us, obviously on the ice and players like him don’t grow on trees,” MacFarland added. “He’s a massive piece for our organization in so many ways. We want to help him to get the situation right so that he can resume playing.”

The 30-year-old forward from Sweden had surgery in March 2022, but was able to make it back in time for the playoffs, where he had 22 points in 20 playoff games on the Avalanche’s Cup run last year.

Landeskog and the organization hope this more extreme approach allows him to get past the knee injury that has sidelined him. Named Colorado’s captain in 2012 at age 19, he has played 807 regular-season and playoff games for the team and is signed through the 2028-29 season.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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