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Markov's status unknown

PITTSBURGH -- Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov has returned to Montreal to be examined by doctors after apparently injuring his right knee in Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Markov, unable to put weight on his right leg, was helped off the ice in the first period Friday night in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

He was skating toward a loose puck in the corner when Penguins forward Matt Cooke leveled him with a hit at 11:46. No penalty was called on the hit.

Markov's glove flew high as he dropped to the ice. As several players held and grabbed each other at mid-ice, Markov remained down for several minutes before being helped to a runway leading to the Montreal dressing room.

The Canadiens did not say Saturday how long their top defenseman will be out. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series is Sunday in Pittsburgh.

On March 7, Cooke's blindside hit badly injured Bruins forward Marc Savard, who suffered a Grade 2 concussion and only this week received clearance for game action.

Information from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and The Associated Press was used in this report.