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Another bad break for the Wings

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

Ryan Sproul was one of three second-round draft picks that went to the Wings last June. He's out indefinitely with a broken jaw.
If you play hockey long enough, getting stitches in the face is an expected evil. And while it sure seems like several Red Wings’ players have had their share of sutures this season, broken jaws and cheekbones is a player’s nightmare.


The Wings have had no fewer than seven players suffer facial injuries that have required at least some amount of stitches to close sizeable cuts this season. Unfortunately, defenseman Ian White (cheekbone) and forward Patrick Eaves (jaw) had greater damage done when they were struck in the face by fast-moving pucks.

Eaves even had his jaw wired and hasn’t played since Nov. 26.

But such devastating injuries haven’t been limited to the organization’s parent club this season.

Last week, 18-year-old defenseman Ryan Sproul, a Wings’ second-round draft pick last June, had a plate surgically inserted into his fractured jaw a day after he was hit by a deflected puck during an Ontario Hockey League game at Sault Ste. Marie's Essar Centre.

According to The Sault Star, Sproul was injured last Wednesday with 3:52 to go in regulation. He left the ice immediately, and spent the night at Sault Area Hospital.

Sproul’s parents, Phil and Paulette, were at the game, and Thursday morning they drove their son home to Mississauga, Ontario, where he underwent surgery later that day.

Unable to speak, Sproul took to his Twitter account (@sproully93), where Friday he provided the following update: “Just got up here at the hospital. Not feelin so good and my mouth is jammed shut.”

The pain associated with a broken jaw is excruciating and even more of a nuisance if the patient has allergies, like Danny Cleary, who had his jaws wired in Feb. 2008 after he was hit in the face during a game in Toronto.

In order to take his allergy medicine, Cleary’s wife, Jelena, used to crush his pills into powder and put it in his meals, which he sucked through a straw. Not sure if Sproul has allergies, but we know he's not yet able to use a straw, writing Sunday: “I can't stand being starved and can't have anything but soup through a syringe when my family is eating an unreal breakfast.”

Before his injury, the 6-foot-3 Sproul was the Greyhounds’ top scoring defenseman, netting 10 goals with 16 assists and a team-best plus-17 rating in 37 games.

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill


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