RW JUNIOR LESSARD RECALLED FROM NORFOLK
TAMPA BAY – Tampa Bay Lightning center Chris Gratton will undergo surgery to repair a tear to the labrum in his left hip next week, Executive Vice President and General Manager Jay Feaster announced. Feaster also announced that the Lightning have recalled right wing Junior Lessard on an emergency basis from the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League.
Gratton has been suffering from the ailment since November and has continued to remain in the lineup since that time with considerable pain. Conservative treatment and therapy have not been able to relieve his symptoms and at this time, a decision has been made to proceed with a surgical repair of the labrum.
The procedure will be performed by national hip specialist, Dr. Marc Philippon of the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colorado. Philippon is well known for performing several arthroscopic hip repairs on National Hockey League players.
Gratton will be out of the lineup indefinitely and a specific timeframe for his return will be determined following the procedure, which is expected to take place next week.
"Chris Gratton has been the ultimate team player in trying to soldier on and battle through the pain of this injury," Feaster said. "Our training and medical staffs have been amazed at how Chris has handled the pain and continued to contribute to the team during the past four months. After meeting with Chris and the medical and training staffs last evening I recommended - and Chris agreed - that we should get this taken care of now rather than prolonging not only his pain, but ultimately, his recovery time. As an organization we are indebted to Gratts for his commitment to putting the team first throughout this injury."
Lessard, 6-feet, 200-pounds, has 16 goals, seven power-play goals and 36 points in 55 AHL games this season with Norfolk and the Iowa Stars. Since being acquired from Dallas in exchange for defenseman Dan Jancevski on January 15, Lessard has six goals and 15 points in 19 games.
The 27-year-old led Iowa in goals (27), points (52), power-play goals (12) and was tied for third in assists (25) last season. He was also selected to the Canadian roster for the 2005-06 AHL All-Star Game and scored the game-winning goal while adding an assist.
He has played in eight career NHL games, all with Dallas. He has played in two games with the Stars this season and recorded two penalty minutes.
The St. Joseph de Beauce, Quebec native won the Hobey Baker Award as the nation’s top collegiate player in 2004 after leading the nation with 32 goals and 63 points in 45 games with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In 160 games with the Bulldogs he scored 74 goals and recorded 142 points.
He signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent on April 15, 2004.