It's every team's worst nightmare to have a star player get injured. It's worse when that injury occurs away from the team.
Alex Ovechkin appeared to sustain a right leg injury in the third period of Russia's 3-0 victory over Germany at the 2014 IIHF World Championship. After laying on the ice for some time, he required assistance off the ice according to Stephen Whyno of the Canadian Press, who was covering the game.
Here's a look at the hit that led to Ovechkin's injury in a GIF via @Freedoooom:
Ovechkin was writhing in pain on the ice. didn't put pressure on right leg while going off. @SlavaMalamud is also here, says looks like knee— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 18, 2014
After the game, Russian reporter Slava Malamud shared this:
Alex Ovechkin has been taken off in an ambulance. Evaluation still pending, but according to inside info, "it's pretty bad". #Caps— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) May 18, 2014
That is an awfully sobering update. The good news is that there is an offseason to recover. The bad news is if this is a serious injury resulting in structural damage to the knee, it could be a long-term situation that forces Ovechkin to miss portions of next season.
The hit itself looks more like a botched hip check than the extended leg we often see with knee-on-knee hits. There was no penalty called on the play and probably shouldn't have been.
The Washington Capitals captain is never one to turn down his home country when he is available for the World Championship, but if this injury proves serious, the Caps may be more aggressive about letting him leave for it ever again.
The Capitals released the following statement:
We are aware that Alex Ovechkin sustained an injury during today's game versus Germany. Our medical staff is working with Ovechkin and Team Russia to gather additional information at this time.
UPDATE: Ovechkin tweeted a photo from his Instragram account to update fans on how he is doing:
Malamud offered a translation here:
According to multiple reports, Ovechkin was briefly hospitalized, but rejoined his team at their hotel and was seen walking with a limp, but no crutches. (via Canadian Press)
There is no official diagnosis publicly at this point, but it seems all signs are pointing to nothing serious.
Ovechkin is not expected to play Russia's final preliminary-round game against Belarus Tuesday, but his status for the tournament is unclear beyond that.
Capitals fans probably won't be breathing that sigh of relief until he is back in Washington after this tournament is over, but things look better now than they did earlier Sunday.