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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Lindy Ruff (Photo: Getty Images)
Buffalo Sabres Head Coach Lindy Ruff briefly updated injuries today following practice. The Sabres are currently without four forwards in Pat Kaleta [head/neck], Paul Gaustad [upper body], Nathan Gerbe [upper body] and Tim Connolly [rib], as well as defenseman Craig Rivet [shoulder].

Kaleta was injured Dec. 19 after being punched by Los Angeles Kings’ defenseman Denis Gauthier. Ruff said the symptoms are similar to the head/neck injury Kaleta sustained earlier this season that caused the grinder to miss seven games.

Gerbe suffered an upper body injury Dec. 13 in a 4-2 win against the New Jersey Devils and was placed on IR last week.

Gaustad has missed the last three contests with an upper body injury while Tim Connolly has not played since Nov. 14 with a broken rib after taking a hit hard from St. Louis Blues’ forward Keith Tkachuk.

Rivet has missed the last six games after his shoulder injury flared up again on Dec. 12.

Jochen Hecht was on the ice Tuesday morning, despite missing the second half of Buffalo's 4-3 overtime loss against the Penguins Monday night. Hecht was hit by a puck below the ear midway through the second frame and did not return to the ice.

The following are Ruff's comments on the injuries:

Nathan Gerbe skated before [practice] today with Paul Gaustad. Where are they at this point?

"We will evaluate them on Dec. 26. He is getting better, his pain tolerance is better. Same with Gaustad – he is [doing] light exercise. He is not even going to be involved in practice and may not be involved after Christmas so we will just wait and see where he is at."

How close are we getting to Craig Rivet’s two weeks?

"We are getting close. He will be evaluated after Christmas and that decision will be made whether it is another two weeks. He is a lot stronger so we will see where the doctor thinks he is at."

Does Chris Butler’s play at least remove some of the notion that you might have to hope Rivet comes back sooner or later? Does it give you a little more time?

"For Craig, it is just based on whether he is going to be ready or not. If he’s ready we want him to play. If he’s not, because Butler is playing well, we’re not going to say ‘let’s hold him out.’ It’s just based on if we get him to a point where we think he’s strong enough and [he can] play his game."

What about Tim Connolly?

"Tim is getting better. The doctors have him on light stick-handling and light shooting and trying to progress him."
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