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Ducks' Wisniewski out of hospital

by Eric Stephens /
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman James Wisniewski was released from UCI Medical Center in Orange County on Wednesday after being hospitalized when he was struck in the chest by a shot Tuesday night during Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Detroit.

A team spokesman says Wisniewski was cleared by doctors and released Wednesday afternoon, but that there's no timetable set for his return. Game 4 is Thursday night.

Defenseman Ryan Whitney said he spoke with Wisniewski after the game and said the defenseman was in good spirits.

"I think it was pretty good news," Whitney said. "I don't know exactly what they told him, but I don't think it's anything too serious. It's just pretty scary there when he's coughing up blood. I think he was a little freaked out, but his dad was here. He was real good last night when I spoke with him."

Wisniewski was injured during an extended shift by the Red Wings in the Anaheim zone. Pavel Datsyuk's shot caught the defenseman high up in his chest area, leaving Wisniewski hunched over and trying to catch his breath.

"It's a unique injury from the standpoint that with all the protection you've got there, very rarely that you get a puck in that area," coach Randy Carlyle said.

The Ducks finished the game with just five defensemen. Carlyle indicated that he'll likely choose between Brendan Mikkelson, Brett Festerling and Brian Salcido, who all skated in an optional practice Wednesday, to take Wisniewski's place in the lineup.

"We have to make a decision on one of those three," Carlyle said. "We'll do that here in the next 24 hours. Both Festerling and Mikkelson have played with our hockey club this year. We feel confident in putting one of those guys in."

The injury had a sobering effect on the Ducks' dressing room following a victory that gave them a 2-1 lead in the series. A key deadline-day trade in March, Wisniewski has 1 goal and 2 assists and is averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time in nine playoff games.

"I don't know what he was saying when he could be back in," Whitney said. "I don't know if it's tomorrow or the game after. I know as soon as he can be, he will be. He's a tough kid. Like I said, he was just a little scared out there on the ice but he's felt a lot better after talking to the doctors once he got to the hospital."

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