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Dorsett leaves Canucks to be examined for neck stiffness

Forward had spinal surgery during offseason, played first 20 games

by Mike Cranston / NHL.com Correspondent

PHILADELPHIA -- Vancouver Canucks forward Derek Dorsett left the team Tuesday and returned to Vancouver to see a specialist after experiencing stiffness in his neck and back.

Dorsett had cervical spine fusion surgery on Dec. 5 after a neck injury that left his arms numb and threatened to end his playing career.

Canucks coach Travis Green said Dorsett left practice Monday after 10 minutes. 

"The symptoms just slowly came around over the last week or so, and my understanding is he's going back to see the surgeons and our doctors, and we'll know over the course of the next few days," Green said.

Vancouver plays at the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SNE, SNO, SNP, NBCSP, NHL.TV).

Dorsett started feeling numbness after getting hit during games early last season, and the symptoms eventually got worse. He had surgery that involved pulling aside his vocal cords and pulling a disk out of his neck.

"He's been kind of dealing with it for the last several days, week," Green said. "We just felt like it was better off if he went back and got tested. … First and foremost we know that he's healthy. As far as playing, if he can, it's a little early to start talking about that. We'll wait for him to see the doctors and see where he's at."

After missing the remainder last season, he participated in training camp and played in the first 20 games of this season. He had nine points (seven goals, two assists) and 74 penalty minutes.

"I don't want to talk about it 'was' a remarkable comeback. It still is," Green said. "He's had a great start to the year. He's been a big part of the team and hopefully he's joining our group again soon."

Green said forward Brendan Gaunce would replace Dorsett against the Flyers.

"Obviously, the team will miss [Derek]," Green said.

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