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Sabres LW Gaustad out for season with torn tendon; D Spacek breaks hand @NHLdotcom

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -It's one major injury after another for the Buffalo Sabres.

Shortly after general manager Darcy Regier announced Saturday that forward Paul Gaustad was to miss the rest of the season with a sliced tendon in his left leg, Sabres defenseman Jaroslav Spacek broke his left hand blocking a shot during a 3-2 shootout win over Calgary.

"We're looking at weeks," coach Lindy Ruff said, referring to Spacek, who was hurt 16 minutes in.

The outlook is much worse for Gaustad, who is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday and not expected to return even if the Eastern Conference-leading Sabres make a deep playoff run.

"Right now, he's definitely done," Regier said during the first intermission. "It'll be a long process back."

Gaustad was cut on the lower part of his leg when he inadvertently collided with Ottawa's Dany Heatley early in the third period of Buffalo's 3-2 win Wednesday.

Numerous stitches were needed to close the cut, but initial tests didn't reveal serious damage. It was believed that Gaustad would miss no more than a week, but additional tests revealed the severity of the injury Saturday.

"It felt like I got punched in the stomach when I found out what happened," said Gaustad, who was walking on crutches and wearing a protective boot. "It was a freak accident. It's something I've never really dealt with in my career. It's just devastating to me."

Gaustad, in his second NHL season, had been playing on a line with Sabres leading scorer Chris Drury, and had a career-high tying nine goals and 13 assists in 54 games this season.

His loss is a big blow the Sabres, who rely on the 6-foot-4 and 229-pound forward's size and gritty style.

"We're going to miss Paul, but we went through this last year," Ruff said.

Buffalo was resilient last spring in reaching the Eastern Conference finals, which it lost in Game 7 to Carolina, despite eventually missing five regulars, including four defensemen.

"Maybe we get some of the injuries out of the way now, and get healthy for later in the year," Ruff said.

Spacek's hand was already in a soft cast when he spoke to reporters following the game.

"I knew it was broken right away," said Spacek, who was hurt after blocking Mark Giordano's snap shot.

Spacek, the Sabres top free-agent addition last summer, was playing his first game back after missing three with a knee injury.

His 20 points (five goals and 15 assists) in 53 games rank second among Buffalo defensemen.

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