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by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Maxim Afinogenov (photo: Getty Images)
The ups-and-downs of Maxim Afinogenov's groin injury aren't over yet.  The dynamic winger was set to be make his return to Buffalo's lineup tomorrow against the Boston Bruins at the TD BankNorth Garden, but following practice on Monday morning, Afinogenov's outlook is much bleaker than what it seemed the past week.

The groin injury seems to have reared its ugly head once again, delaying his recovery even further.

"It would be a miracle if he played," said head coach Lindy Ruff of Afinogenov's status for Tuesday night.

"We felt the best decision was to keep him out of the last game, although he was anxious to give it a try.  I know that he made statements saying that he thought he was ready.

"But we knew from skating him that there still was a little bit that he couldn't quite get through.  I don't know if it's re-injured or if it's just basically at the same place it was."

An emotional Afinogenov left the skate early when the coaching staff believed he could no longer "participate at full go," according to Ruff.


Listen to head coach Lindy Ruff talk about Afinogenov's injury.

Ruff Interview 
"We thought he was close to playing and don't really know how bad [this current injury] is," said Ruff.  "He's just feeling it again."

The Russian winger has been absent from the Sabres lineup since Jan. 4, a span of 12 games.

"It's been a long time [since Afinogenov has played]," said Ruff.  "He's trying to get through it and we really felt that tomorrow would be the day that we get him back in.  We thought that everything looked like a go.

"From his standpoint, he wants to help, he wants to get back in and he wants to help make us a better team."
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