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Duncan Keith pulls out of World Cup to focus on knee rehab

Duncan Keith missed 10 games after knee surgery last fall. (Getty Images)

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith pulled out of the World Cup of Hockey on Wednesday, choosing to focus on rehabbing his right knee, which was operated on last October.

Keith had surgery on Oct. 20 to repair a meniscal tear suffered during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against Tampa Bay. He missed less than a month, but didn’t want to risk re-injury during the World Cup in Toronto next month.

“As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month’s World Cup of Hockey,” Hawks team doctor Michael Terry said in a release. “We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury.”

St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will replace Keith on Team Canada, which also lost Dallas star Jamie Benn (replaced by San Jose’s Logan Couture).

Keith’s departure leaves the Hawks with 10 players in the World Cup, which begins Sept. 17 (training camps open on Sept. 4): Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford (Canada), Patrick Kane (United States), Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marcus Kruger (Sweden), Marian Hossa (Europe), Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov (Russia), Michal Kempny (Czech Republic), and Ville Pokka (Finland).