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“I think it’s important for us to play,” Tavares said. “You saw how much we love representing our countries, especially at that level. You put ourselves in (Snow’s) shoes and you can understand why teams are concerned about their players and injuries. I know he cares a lot about the Islanders and this organization, and so do I. There is always that concern. With this game, there is always that risk any time you step on the ice - the possibility of injury.

“Whether it’s my injury or injuries in general, obviously it’s a concern, even for players. Guys don’t want to get hurt. You want to go out there and play and play hard and do what it takes to win, but you want to come back here and contribute. You know how important it is playing for your club team. It’s obviously a topic that will be discussed in great detail, so it’s just weighing the pros and cons about participating in the Games.”

The news of no surgery was a relief, and the flight home from Russia wasn’t too bad, either, as players sat in first class and were able to lie down during their travels.

“Basically the meniscus issue really isn’t as much of an issue as maybe what was thought,” he said. “Basically it is just a bad MCL tear, not a complete tear but pretty close. I am just going to have to take my time and make sure I get healthy.”

Tavares, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft, is third in the league in scoring with 66 points - including 24 goals. He has played in all but one of the Islanders‘ 60 games this season, and in his five NHL seasons has sat out only four games out of 354.

“I was just hoping that he was going to be OK,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said about when he first learned of Tavares‘ injury. “Obviously we know how important he is to our hockey club. When you talk about a most valuable player to your team, the way that we play and the success we’ve had, he is a big part of that.

“When he went down, the first thing was make sure it is a situation where he is going to rehab real well and get back sooner than later.”