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John Tavares returning to Toronto after injury at hockey worlds

Team Canada centre John Tavares sustained an oblique injury Thursday and will return to Toronto from the world championships for further evaluation, the Maple Leafs announced.

Forward to miss Slovakia tournament with hurt oblique

Maple Leafs centre John Tavares suffered an oblique injury preparing to play for Team Canada at the world championships on Thursday. (Claus Anderson/Getty Images)

John Tavares left the world championships with an injury on Thursday.

The Canadian centre hurt his oblique preparing for the IIHF tournament and is returning to Toronto for further evaluation, the Maple Leafs announced.

The 28-year-old will miss the rest of the tournament in Slovakia, said Hockey Canada.

"We are disappointed that John will not be able to participate as a member of Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, but after contacting the Toronto Maple Leafs we agreed it was best for him to return home for further evaluation," said GM Jason Botterill.

Tavares joined Canada's roster after the Leafs lost to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone and Philadelphia Flyers centre Sean Couturier will be counted on to pick up the slack for Team Canada, which opens play Friday against Finland at 10:15 a.m. ET.

It wasn't immediately clear how the 28-year-old centre suffered the injury.

Given that oblique injuries usually require at least a few weeks of recovery time, Tavares is likely a longshot to return to Slovakia for the May 10-26 tournament.

Tavares had a career-high 47 goals with 41 assists in 82 games with the Maple Leafs in the regular season, and added two goals and three assists in seven playoff games.

With files from The Canadian Press

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