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Tavares misses practice with lower-body injury

Dec 27, 2013, 5:52 PM EST

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UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 21: John Tavares #91 of the New York Islanders skates during an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 21, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) Getty Images

The New York Islanders can’t afford to be without captain John Tavares right now, but they might not have a choice.

He missed the Islanders’ first practice since the holiday break due to a lower-body injury, putting his status for Saturday’s game is in question.

“Anytime your captain is out, you have some concern, there’s no question,” Capuano told Newsday.

As we approach the halfway point of the 2013-14 campaign, the Islanders are nine points out of a playoff spot. That’s not an insurmountable deficit, but they need a lot to go right for them to capture a postseason berth.

Tavares has been averaging roughly a point-per-game, but there’s not much to like about their offense beyond him. As it is, they are in the bottom third of the league when it comes to goals per game.

Fortunately for New York, this ailment isn’t believed to be a long-term issue, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple. So maybe the Islanders’ best hope will still be available as they struggle to turn their season around.

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