Lucia Suffers Serious Leg Injury

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 06: Mario Lucia #21 of the USA Blue Squad celebrates his game winning goal at 19:25 of the third period against Team Finland at the USA hockey junior evaluation camp at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 6, 2012 in Lake Placid, New York. Team USA defeated Finland 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Notre Dame incoming freshman Mario Lucia was expected to be one of the top newcomers in the west this season, but those plans have been derailed a bit, when Lucia broke his leg and suffered some ankle tendon damage when a teammate fell on his leg during a drill in practice.

Lucia tweeted earlier today that his surgery went well and he can begin rehabbing as soon as possible. He will be in a cast for seven weeks, and then can begin rehabbing the injury, which is expected to keep him out another month or so beyond that. That time frame means he'll likely miss most of Notre Dame's first half of the season. Notre Dame should have enough depth to absorb the loss, but scoring was a bit of a concern for Notre Dame beyond Anders Lee and T.J. Tynan, and Lucia was expected to contribute offensively.

Perhaps the bigger question mark is what this means for the US World Junior team. In an already shallow birth year, Lucia was expected to one of the team's centerpieces. Lucia should be back on the ice in time for the tournament, but there will be questions about how ready he is for the event. The US did take Jon Merrill for their team after Merrill missed the first half of last year, but Merrill after least had the ability to work out and maintain some level of conditioning. Assuming no setbacks, I'd be surprised if Lucia isn't on the roster, but it would be a huge setback for the US if he is not at 100%.

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