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Panthers' Bure Out 2-3 Weeks

Florida Panthers superstar right wing Pavel Bure will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his ailing right knee Friday and will be sidelined two to three weeks.

Bure aggravated his strained right knee in Wednesday's crushing 7-5 loss to Colorado and sat out the third period, when Florida surrendered six unanswered goals.

Bure underwent an MRI this afternoon at the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale. The results showed bone contusions, fluid on the knee and a new meniscus tear.

The 27-year-old Bure was playing only his second game after missing eight with the original knee problem. On Wednesday, he showed how valuable he is to the Panthers by recording his second hat trick of the season, helping them build a 5-0 lead.

T he aggravated injury comes at a bad time for Florida, which is ninth in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Boston for the final playoff berth.

Since he was acquired from Vancouver in a blockbuster deal on January 17, Bure has 13 goals and three assists in 11 games. His two hat tricks already place him second on the team's all-time list.

Bure was injured in the first period of a 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh on February 5, but three days later he signed a five-year contract extension worth a reported $47 million that keeps him among the NHL's highest-paid players.

The "Russian Rocket" tied for third in the NHL with 90 points and 51 goals last season. In 1992-93, he became the first 50-goal and 100-point scorer in Canucks history, finishing with 60 goals and 50 assists. Bure also had 60 goals in the 1993-94 season, helping Vancouver reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time.

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