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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Goalie Sokolov May Get Chance in Latvia

APSokolov playing in Vienna last year.
Russia goaltender Maxim Sokolov, originally ruled out of the world ice hockey championship with a knee injury, might yet play in Latvia.

The 33-year-old had surgery on his meniscus on Friday after hurting his knee in a European championship game against Finland a week ago.

Initially he was given at least four weeks to recover, which meant missing the championship starting Friday in Riga.

But Sokolov has made steady progress in the last few days.

"The operation went well, and I don't feel pain in my knee anymore," he told reporters Wednesday at the Russian team's training camp near Moscow after team doctors checked his knee.

"I was told that I could be back on the ice by Monday, and then I'll need a few more days to be ready for the matches."

Russia head coach Vladimir Krikunov said: "We'll take only two goaltenders to Riga and hold a spot for Sokolov until the last minute.

"If the doctors say he is ready to play we would certainly add him to our roster because he is our top goaltender."

Sokolov was Russia's third choice at this year's Turin Olympics behind the NHL duo of Yevgeny Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov but was moved to a starting role after both the others became unavailable.

NHL All-Star Nikolai Khabibulin, who backstopped the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first Stanley Cup in 2004, refused to play for Russia at the world championship.

Sokolov's injury was the latest setback for Russia, a major hockey superpower in the old Soviet days.

Most of Russia's best players, with the exception of NHL rookie sensation Alexander Ovechkin, have turned down the chance to play in Riga following a fallout with Krikunov in Turin.

Sokolov was Russia's top goaltender at the 2002 world championships in Sweden, where Russia won a silver medal -- its best showing at a world tournament over the course of the last 13 years.