The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/17/11 at 11:35 PM ET
Updated at 1:41 AM: The Detroit Red Wings lost the services of Brian Rafalski and Pavel Datsyuk in their 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets via collisions with Antoine Vermette and Rick Nash, respectively, with Rafalski staying on the ice for a while after grabbing his right knee, and Datsyuk leaving the ice after appearing to jam his left knee or ankle into the boards in the Columbus zone. Wings coach Mike Babcock told Fox Sports Detroit’s Trevor Thompson that Rafalski would be fine, but Datsyuk had a, “Lower-body injury” and would be reevaluated on Friday, and MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms via the sources themselves:
“I just take a hit – lower-body injury,’’ Datsyuk said. “I’m hoping (to play Saturday in Nashville), but now it’s after the game. In a couple of days we’ll see. Tomorrow we’ll make a decision. See how it feels in the morning.’‘
Asked how concerned he is, Datsyuk said. “I don’t know, it’s hard to say now.’‘
Rafalski said the said the brace he wears on the knee saved it or “it would have been a lot worse.’‘
“See if the swelling goes down tomorrow,’’ Rafalski said. “Can’t let it get stiffed up. At first the pain was (bad) and then it started going away after a few seconds.’‘
Perhaps the most disturbing news comes from Rafalski, regarding the status of his right knee in general:
“I don’t know if it’s bone on bone,’’ Rafalski said. “I haven’t had an ACL in that knee since I was 16-17. As long as the MCL is OK, it’s just a matter of making sure I strengthen it.’‘
The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms the players’ injuries:
The Wings finished the game without two of their top players, as Pavel Datsyuk left midway through the third period with a lower-body injury after getting hit by Rick Nash, and Brian Rafalski spent the last five minutes nursing a tweaked right knee.
Rafalski said he doesn’t think his injury is serious, but won’t know for sure until he sees if there is any swelling this morning. Datsyuk sounded more concerned.
“I get hit, am sore,” he said. “After game, it’s OK, maybe it take a couple of days – we’ll see. See how in the morning I feel.”
Update 10:54 PM: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan offers the following:
We’ll know more about Pavel Datsyuk (lower body injury) and Brian Rafalski (right knee) in the next day, or two.
Both seemed to take a wait-and-see approach as to how serious the injuries really are.
Neither seemed overly concerned. Neither looked in terrible pain, at all.
So, we wait and see exactly how serious, if at all, it is.
Update 1:41 AM: Here’s a bit more from Kulfan:
“Lower body injury,” said Datsyuk, who appeared to be walking gingerly. “I’ll see how I feel tomorrow morning. It’s hard to say (whether he’s concerned it’s a long-term injury). I don’t know (about any further tests). Not yet. We’ll see how I feel today and tomorrow. I’ve had too much time off this season,” said Datsyuk, noting the month he lost earlier this season due to a broken right hand.
Rafalski fell awkwardly on his right knee when knocked into the boards by Columbus forward Antoine Vermette late in the third period. Rafalski wears a brace on the knee which may have saved him from a worse fate. He skated off the ice, but returned to the bench before the game ended. Rafalski didn’t play the rest of the game.
“He fell into my knee, fell straight into it,” Rafalski said. “We’ll see how the swelling is (Friday) and try to contain it. I have to keep it moving and can’t let it stiffen. At first the pain just hit, but it started to go away after a few seconds. By then, I was able to skate off and I could walk. But I don’t think I could have skated to finish the game. was waiting to see how it felt but I went to test it and it seemed OK.”
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