Team USA loses star Seth Jones

The 2012 World Junior Championships begin in Alberta on December 26th. But Team USA will now be without defenseman Seth Jones, who was ridden into the boards after driving to the net in the second period and left the rink wearing a sling. The 17-year-old defenseman is projected as a potential No. 1 pick in the 2013 entry draft and was poised to be the youngest member of the team. Jones will miss the remainder of the tournament with an unspecified upper-body injury sustained in Team USA’s exhibition opener against Russia on Tuesday night.

“It’s nothing very serious, but he is unable to play,” said USA Hockey Communications Manager Alex Clark. “He will be reevaluated in a few weeks.”

Jones, the 6-3, 195-pound son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, was paired with New Jersey Devils draft pick Jon Merrill in Team USA’s 6-3 loss to the Russians. Jones is a slick-skating, physical defenseman, excellent on both sides of the puck and very mature for his tender age. His skills will be sorely missed on Team USA’s blue line, though with Merrill, Adam Clendening, Derek Forbert, Jarred Tinordi, Stephen Johns and Jacob Trouba, the Americans still have one of the best defensive groups in the tournament.

Team USA is hoping to medal at the World Juniors for the third consecutive year, read more about it here:

And also check out the lofty expectations for Team USA.