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Emergency surgery for Richardson

by Rich Hammond / Los Angeles Kings
Jeff Carter’s ankle is apparently getting better each day, and Brad Richardson’s appendix is gone.

Carter made it through a second consecutive day of full-team practice Tuesday, and seems to be on track to play in Game 1 of the Kings’ first-round playoff series against Vancouver on Wednesday. The same can’t be said for Richardson, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday night.

Coach Darryl Sutter made the surprising announcement after Tuesday’s practice. To replace Richardson on the roster, the Kings called up forward Andrei Loktionov from the American Hockey League Richardson did not accompany the team to Vancouver, and it’s not know when he might be able to play again.

``He’s had (symptoms) the last couple days,’’ Sutter said. ``We thought maybe it was stomach-muscle related, but he had an ultrasound yesterday afternoon. We told him, `You better get checked, because we’re traveling.’ I know how he feels. I had that four or five years ago [in 2004]. I was in the Saddledome and I had it. There’s nothing you can do about that.

``It’s better to have it out than have it rupture. It’s not about hockey. With the procedures they have now, you’re resuming activity within a couple days. We won’t have him for a while. ... When I had it, you were allowed to resume activity, as long as you feel all right, in three or four or five days. Then it’s basically up to you. They used to take the ax and cut you open. Now, you wouldn’t even know they did it.’’

Beyond the obvious concern for Richardson’s health, the good news for the Kings is that Carter seems likely to return for Game 1, and probably would have taken Richardson’s spot in the lineup.

On Monday, after Carter’s return to practice, Sutter said Carter had ``a long way to go’’ before being declared ready to play again. Apparently, Carter came a long way in a few hours. Tuesday morning, Carter was on the ice doing drills with the Kings’ first power-play unit.

Sutter’s only comment was, ``He’s better today than he was yesterday.’’ Carter was more optimistic.

``It felt better today,’’ Carter said. ``I think it takes a little bit to warm up, but once I get going, it’s been feeling pretty good. ... I feel like I’m getting better and I feel like I can contribute.’’
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