Yzerman Has Surgery, Sidelined Indefinitely
Monday, May 3, 2004; Page D04
DETROIT, May 2 -- Detroit captain Steve Yzerman is out indefinitely after undergoing 41/2 hours of surgery for a scratched cornea and broken bone just below his left eye.
Yzerman is expected to make a full recovery, the Red Wings said in a statement Sunday, adding that he will be unavailable to comment for a week.
Yzerman was hurt when he was hit in the face with a puck during Detroit's 1-0 loss to Calgary on Saturday night. He experienced blurred vision in his eye, but that improved after the surgery.
Yzerman, who will turn 39 on May 9, has a franchise-record 70 playoff goals and 181 points in 20 seasons with Detroit. In regular season games, he's the sixth-leading scorer in NHL history.
He was hit midway through the second period and needed help getting off the ice. The injury came after a shot by Detroit's Mathieu Schneider ricocheted off someone in front of the Calgary net and hit Yzerman squarely in the face as he stood to the left of the goal.
Yzerman, who doesn't wear a face shield, immediately dropped to the ice, kicking his legs in pain.
After being down for a couple minutes, Yzerman was helped to the dressing room as a towel was held near his left eye.
Calgary leads the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series 3-2 and can eliminate the Red Wings at home on Monday.
If Detroit falls to Calgary, Yzerman may have played his last game because of the NHL's looming labor problems. A long lockout could prompt his retirement.
"I plan on playing next year, but the collective bargaining agreement will determine that," Yzerman said before the playoffs started. "I'm just going to wait and see what happens. I'm prepared to wait a year."
Some thought the 10-time all-star and 1998 Conn Smythe winner as playoff MVP would choose to end his storied career last year, but he said it wasn't an option he considered.
He missed the first 66 games of the 2002-03 season following a knee surgery that involved sawing into the bone below his knee and using a wedge to realign the joint.
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