DETROIT – Just when they thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Red Wings learned that the injury epidemic has reached another new low.
Monday morning the team learned that fourth-line center Joakim Andersson suffered a fractured foot during the second period of the Wings’ 3-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday and will miss at least the next two weeks.
Andersson now joins the cast of Wings centers – Pavel Datsyuk, Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm – who were supposed to begin the season as the club’s strength up the middle. Unfortunately, they have spent more time on injured reserve than they have on the ice.
The Red Wings have recalled Cory Emmerton from Grand Rapids to fill Andersson's void.
Andersson was injured while killing off a Kyle Quincey penalty midway through the second period. Andersson turned his left foot out to block Dominic Moore’s shot but the puck struck Andersson above his left instep causing a fracture of the medial malleolus, which is the large protruding bone at the bottom of the tibia.
“Usually you shake if off after about five minutes, but I didn’t shake it off, it was still hurting in the third period,” Andersson said. “We did an X-ray and CT scan this morning and on the CT scan it showed it was broken.”
Coincidentally, Andersson is among a handful of Red Wings who wear plastic guards on the outside of their skates to protect against foot injuries. Quincey, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Danney DeKeyser, Drew Miller and David Legwand also wear the protective product.
“I wear those shot blockers so I thought I was good,” Andersson said. “It hit a bad spot I guess.”
Andersson, who missed six games in January with a hip flexor injury, has produced seven goals and 15 points in 58 games this season. Injuries have forced the Wings’ centers to miss 104 man-games this season, including Datsyuk (25), Helm (35) and Weiss (38).
Team doctors told Andersson that surgery isn’t necessary but that he would miss “a couple of weeks” while wearing an immobilizing boot, which he had on Monday morning.
“We’ll see how it heals,” Andersson said. “It’s not fun. We already have a lot of centers hurt so it’s no fun.”
Andersson said he felt the pain immediately but it wasn’t any worse than previous times that he has been hit with a puck.
“I felt it hurt. I’ve had shots on the feet before, but never broke it,” he said. “I didn’t know. I felt it in the third period. I didn’t know it was broken.”
No signs either after the game, Andersson said.
“It didn’t really swell,” he said. “I looked at it this morning and it wasn’t swollen so I was happy about that.”
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