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Any Rangers comeback will be without injured Avery @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK (AP) - Rangers forward Sean Avery remained in an intensive care unit Thursday, two days after his spleen was lacerated during a playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"He won't be removed from there until it stops bleeding, and it hasn't," team spokesman John Rosasco said Thursday after the Rangers' morning skate before Game 4.

Avery spent Wednesday in the hospital after his injury ended his season. He is expected to be hospitalized at least a few days. Avery did not need surgery, and Rosasco said he is expected to make a full recovery.

"He was never in a life-threatening situation," Rosasco said.

Some teammates saw Avery on Wednesday, and coach Tom Renney hoped to visit on his way to Madison Square Garden on Thursday but didn't make the trip. The Rangers trail the Penguins 3-0 in the best-of-seven, second-round series.

"I just made a judgment call on whether or not I should (go) based on what I've been told," Renney said. "He's groggy and sleeping and stuff. I'm hoping to see him tomorrow. I understand he's better this afternoon and coming along nicely."

Avery's mother, Marlene, told the Toronto Sun her son's spleen had not ruptured, but he had internal bleeding. Hospital spokesman Michael Fagan said Avery was in stable condition.

The spleen, about the size of a fist, is on the left side of the body, behind the stomach. It helps the body fight infection and filter blood. A person can live without a spleen but loses some ability to combat infection.

Avery, set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, is known for pushing the envelope on the ice and off it. While with the Red Wings, Kings and Rangers, he has made an art form of riling opponents.

He was injured during Tuesday night's 5-3 loss from a hit, possibly in the first period, but played despite worsening pain. He took seven shifts in the first period, five in the second, and seven in the third. He spent 4 minutes, 58 seconds on the ice in the final period.

Rosasco said Avery was evaluated at the arena, then rode in a car with team physician Dr. Andrew Feldman to St. Vincent's Medical Center and walked in shortly after the game.

The Rangers, trying to extend their season, also learned Thursday that Blair Betts will be sidelined. The center was diagnosed with broken orbital bone around his left eye and is expected to have surgery this weekend.

Betts was injured while blocking a shot in the second period Tuesday night. Fellow center Chris Drury skated Thursday and was inserted into the lineup. He played through a torso injury that made it difficult for him to raise his arms during the second half of Game 3.

"Chris will play," Renney said about two hours before the opening faceoff. "He's good to go."

Only two NHL teams have won a series after trailing 3-0 - the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders. The Boston Red Sox won the 2004 AL championship series after falling behind the New York Yankees 3-0 in baseball's greatest postseason comeback. No NBA team has accomplished the feat.

"Outside this room I don't think there is many people who think we can turn it around," captain Jaromir Jagr said. "But what's important is that I think we do. I think because we have nothing to lose, it makes us a very dangerous team."

The Rangers are 33-14-10 with Avery this season and 9-13-3 when he was out with injuries. He was acquired from Los Angeles in February 2007 and sparked a playoff run in which the Rangers went 17-6-6 in games he played.

"It's a tough loss to lose him, but we've got a lot of guys in here," forward Ryan Callahan said

Avery assisted on the Rangers' second goal Tuesday.

"He's an important part of our team, obviously," forward Brandon Dubinsky said. "At the same time, we have a job to do. ... We can't sit here feeling sorry for ourselves and being sad and having the 'poor me' thought because one of our players is out."

Avery frustrated New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur during the first round. In Game 3, Avery planted himself in the crease with his back to the action and face-guarded the goalie. The next day the NHL barred such activity with the "Avery Rule."

Brodeur was so incensed by Avery's crease-crashing and trash-talking that he refused to shake his hand after the Rangers' clinching victory in Game 5. Avery tied for the team lead with three goals in the series.

Avery's targets often find themselves mouthing off, or worse, getting so angered that they draw a penalty.

"It's emotional and intense," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "Guys are not the best of friends on the ice, but you never want to see someone's health in jeopardy. I think we all wish him the best."

Avery has feuded with 41-year-old Penguins forward Gary Roberts, who has yet to play in this series. Despite 21 seasons of NHL experience, Roberts lost his cool during a November game and took a high-sticking penalty against Avery that led to a goal in a Rangers victory.

Roberts called Avery "an idiot" after his antics with Brodeur, but took a softer tone when told of the spleen injury.

"There's hockey and then there is life and your health," he said. "You don't wish that on anybody."

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