Mike Weber (6) battles San Jose’s Matt Nieto (83) for the puck Nov. 18. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres’ Mike Weber sidelined after knee surgery; Nikita Zadorov won’t join Russia

BUFFALO – Sabres defenseman Mike Weber underwent minor surgery on his left knee Friday and will be sidelined until just after Christmas, coach Ted Nolan said.

“It’s nothing major, but it’s kind of like a maintenance cleanup for an area he was battling for about three weeks or so,” Nolan said this morning inside the First Niagara Center. “He could probably go the rest of the year with it, but we thought it was best to do it now.”

With Weber out, defenseman Andrej Meszaros will return from a six-game absence (possible concussion) tonight against the Florida Panthers.

Weber’s knee scope cements what was widely speculated: Nikita Zadorov won’t leave the Sabres to join Russia for the upcoming world junior championship. The country recently placed the 19-year-old rookie on its roster for the tournament.

Zadorov has become a regular in the last six weeks, skating more than 20 minutes some nights.

“Even if that didn’t happen,” Nolan said about Weber’s injury, “I think those kids going to the world juniors are ones that are in and out of the lineup sometimes, they’re not getting the minutes that they should be getting.”

He added: “On Zadorov’s situation here, he’s playing big minutes. He’s getting a lot of experience. He’s getting better all the time. I don’t see it happening. But, hey, you never know.”

Meanwhile, defenseman Tyson Strachan, out the last three games, skated this morning and could play Monday, Nolan said.

“It’s something that’s been nagging me for a while,” Strachan said about his lower-body injury. “I haven’t been 100 percent, been treating it. It’s something that happened to get worse.”

He added: “If it was up to me, I’d be shooting for tonight. It’s just going to have to take its course.”

In other news, goalie Jhonas Enroth will start tonight. The Panthers have beaten the Sabres five straight games.

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