Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Polak to have surgery, is out indefinitely

Defenseman to have procedure done
Thursday to repair severed tendon in right wrist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After further review, Blues defenseman Roman Polak's injury is more serious than first believed.

Polak will have surgery on his right wrist to repair a severed tendon. He will be out indefinitely.

The injury is not expected to be season-ending, but in 10-14 days, the team will do a post-surgery analysis and determine the length of time Polak will miss.

Polak was injured during the second period of the Blues' 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night.

It is believed that Polak came down and caught an inadvertent skate from the Penguins' Sidney Crosby on the play. He immediately came off the ice and was rushed to the Blues' locker room and never returned.

Earlier this week, Blues coach Davis Payne said that Polak's injury did not appear to be serious but that the Czech Republic native would miss tonight's game in Nashville, then be reevaluated on a day-to-day basis. But further analysis by doctors on Sunday and Monday revealed the severed tendon.

"What happened was, initially after the injury, we thought he was day to day," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "Then after more evaluations Sunday and Monday, it showed that the tendon was severed. The doctor was trying to assess the tendon, and see if it didn't need to be repaired, if (Polak) could play without it.

"Not to get too technical, but the tendon is the one that baseball players have removed to repair another one when they have 'Tommy John' surgery. They weren't sure of the necessity of that tendon for a hockey player. That's why we did our due diligence. As we received the information, the best thing for Roman was to get the surgery done."

Polak will have the surgery performed by Dr. Martin Boyer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Thursday.

Instead of waiting for the final evaluation, Armstrong said, "Instead of creating a storm, we wanted to get all the information before readjusting our statement."

In the meantime, the Blues have recalled defenseman Nathan Oystrick from Peoria in an effort to fill a slot on the defensive unit as the seventh defenseman.

"Oystrick has played well," Armstrong said. "For me, here's a player that has experience going up and down. I don't want it to be a confusing issue (going up and down) for our younger players."

The Blues will miss Polak's minutes in the lineup, as he was averaging 19 minutes 14 seconds in the lineup, which was fourth among the defensemen. But Armstrong believes the Blues are deep enough in Peoria that they don't have to go outside the organization to get help.

"No, not at this time," Armstrong said. "My thoughts are to go with the six defensemen we have.

"Competitively, it's a hurdle we have to overcome," Armstrong added. "His play last year continued over to this year. He has a large impact on the game as a penalty killer and as a shutdown defenseman. We'll find a way to alter our system. It's going to create an opportunity for (Tyson) Strachan, but ultimately, it's going to give an opportunity to (Alex Pietrangelo) and (Erik) Johnson to take a bigger bite."

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