USATSI_7857392_154158418_lowresThe Carolina Hurricanes will be without forward Jordan Staal for at least three to four months, the club announced today. The centre broke his right fibula in the third period of Tuesday’s pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The injury to Staal has to be the most serious of an already injury-ridden pre-season, with many players on many teams already out before action has even begun on the 2014-2015 season.

Staal was skating up the right boards just outside the Buffalo zone when he was checked into the boards by Josh Gorges. It looked like a harmless enough play initially, but Staal fell to the ice and was on his side for a few seconds before the play was called. He needed help to get up from trainers and observers said that he couldn’t put any weight on the leg while being escorted off the ice.

“The puck got moved up to him,” Gorges said. “I stepped in front of him to try to separate him from the play. We got kind of tangled up. He tried to grab around me to switch positions. Next thing I know, he falls. He must’ve gotten tangled up, and I went right over top of him. It was one of those plays, where as soon as I landed on him, I heard him scream.”

Ouch.

Staal hasn’t missed a game in two seasons and has only missed 63 contests in his eight year National Hockey League career. He’s spent time with the Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins thus far and has been an integral part of each hockey club.

The Hurricanes picked Staal up from the Penguins in June of 2012 in a trade that sent Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and a draft pick to Pittsburgh. In July of that year, he inked a 10 year extension worth $60 million after receiving the same offer from the Penguins and turning it down.

In 561 career NHL games, Staal has amassed 319 points including 174 assists. He has 36 points in 73 playoff games.

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