Is Morozov hiding an injury?
Russian scoring leader Alexei Morozov
Earlier today-- Thursday evening Moscow time-- the RIA (Russian News and Information Agency) issued two separate reports, stating that star Russian forward Alexei Morozov would require surgery for a knee injury he suffered during Russia's 4-0 win over the Czech Republic in the World Championship quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The reports said that Morozov, who sat out part of the second period against the Czech Republic because of the injury but returned to the game in the third period, required a medical examination on Thursday, which found a damaged meniscus (torn cartilage). According to the RIA reports, Morozov is scheduled to undergo surgery on May 16th and would thus miss the remainder of the World Championships.
However, a subsequent report in Sport Express has Morozov denying that he will miss any World Championship games, and says that the final word on Morozov's status will be revealed on Friday. Russia is 7-0 in the World Championships and is slated to play Finland in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Morozov currently leads all players at the World Championships with 13 points (8g, 5a) in 7 games, alongside his Ak Bars Kazan linemates Sergei Zinovjev (12 pts) and Danis Zaripov (10 pts). Morozov, Zaripov, and Zinovjev also finished 1, 2, and 4 in the Russian Super League scoring race this past season, with Morozov setting a new Russian regular-season scoring record.
Morozov's North American agent, Jay Grossman, was quoted several weeks ago as saying that Morozov is seeking to play in the NHL next season, with some estimates putting Morozov's worth at $3 -$4 million per year.
UPDATE 5/11/07 3:06 pm - A story today in Sport Express confirmed that Alexei Morozov's knee injury is serious, and will require surgery on May 18th. Morozov's spot on Team Russia's roster will be filled by Sergei Brylin.