Lightning lose Halpern for 6-to-8 months with ruptured knee ligament

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TAMPA BAY - Tampa Bay centre Jeff Halpern is expected to miss the next six to eight months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament at the IIHF World Hockey Championship, the Lightning announced Wednesday.

Halpern, the captain of the U.S. team, was hit hard late in the third period of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to Canada in Halifax. The diagnosis was made Wednesday by Dr. Benjamin Shaffer in Washington.

Halpern also suffered a Grade 3 sprain to his medial collateral ligament, and a small tear to his lateral meniscus. Doctors recommended Halpern wait 4-6 weeks for the MCL injury to heal before undergoing reconstructive surgery on his ACL, which typically carries a recovery time of 5-6 months.

Halpern, 32, had 20 goals and 22 assists in 83 games for the Dallas Stars and the Lightning this season. The six-foot, 195-pounder has 281 points (115-166) in 597 career games with Washingon, Dallas and Tampa Bay.

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