Maple Leafs' Tavares out for season opener with strained rib cage muscle
Veteran centre sidelined at least 3 weeks, head coach Sheldon Keefe says
Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares will be out a 'minimum' of three weeks due to an oblique (rib cage) strain, head coach Sheldon Keefe announced Tuesday.
Tavares underwent testing Tuesday while the team practised, leading to the diagnosis of his injury.
He recorded 17 minutes, 14 seconds of time on ice playing in one of the team's two pre-season games on Saturday against the Ottawa Senators. Keefe said he had been dealing with the issue since that game.
The 32-year-old, heading into his 14th season, played 79 games last season. He recorded 27 goals and 76 points as the Leafs made the playoffs last year.
Toronto hits the ice for its next pre-season game on Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens.
The team opens the regular season Oct. 12 at Montreal.