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Shoalts: Colaiacovo's woes continue Add to ...

The Toronto Maple Leafs have another injury problem, although true to form they are downplaying it.

Defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, who struggled through the last several weeks of last season with an injury to his right knee, is having trouble with it again. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in late April and Leafs head coach Paul Maurice admitted yesterday Colaiacovo's knee is still tender.

Colaiacovo did not play Monday night against the Ottawa Senators and will not play in the Leafs' pre-season game against the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night. Colaiacovo played in two pre-season games last week but it is not clear if he will play in another one before the NHL season starts one week from Wednesday.

No, he has soreness and we're expecting that for another two months, that's the normal range," Maurice said on Tuesday. "We're trying to keep him on his leg program for as long as we can before turning him loose."

Maurice said it is more important for Colaiacovo to work on strengthening his leg in the gym and in practice than to play in games.

Given Colaiacovo's history of injuries in his five professional seasons, this is troubling news for the Leafs. Colaiacovo, 24, played just 48 games last season for the Leafs after returning from a concussion, but showed signs he was finally ready to become one of their top-four defencemen.

If he cannot play at the start of the season, his spot in the top six will probably be taken by Andy Wozniewski. That could also open a spot for Anton Stralman, a late-bloomer from Sweden who is making noises about returning to play in Sweden if he does not make the Leafs.

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