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Sharks goaltender not risking repaired knee

8/30/2004 - Evgeni Nabokov

NEW YORK -- San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has withdrawn from Russia's World Cup of Hockey team after knee surgery in July.

"My knee just isn't 100 percent yet," said Nabokov in a statement issued by the Sharks on Monday. "I wish I could be on the ice to help my teammates but I don't want to risk getting hurt."

Nabokov had not been expected as early as June to make the tournament because of the surgery, performed in mid-July, to remove loose cartilage from his knee.

Russia, already missing first choice goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is scheduled to play the United States in its first match in the eight-team tournament in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday.