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by Kevin Snow / Buffalo Sabres

Normally Lindy Ruff would be the one providing injury updates after practice. But with Ruff at home today in considerable pain nursing three broken ribs suffered in an on-ice spill at Monday’s practice, general manager Darcy Regier took over his duties today.

“As you will notice, Lindy Ruff is not on the ice today,” Regier explained. “I think most of you are also aware that he has broken three ribs – which is a little different than we historically refer to these as ‘upper body injuries.’ He’s listed as day-to-day … and hopefully it remains that way.

“I did speak with (Lindy) this morning; he is in a lot of pain. He said he got about four hours of sleep last night. He was, when I came in this morning, on a conference call with the coaches going over practice.”

Regier was unsure as to whether Ruff would be behind the bench for Wednesday’s home game against Boston. His condition will be evaluated in the morning, and a determination will be made at that time. In Ruff’s absence, James Patrick will assume the day-to-day duties – including running practices as he did today. In addition, Teppo Numminen would move from his current seat in the press box to behind the bench.

There’s some concern that even if Ruff wants to go behind the bench tomorrow, it would be more than just a pain tolerance issue. There’s always the chance that he’d be unable to move quick enough to avoid a puck that might be shot out of play. With this in mind, Regier said they’d consider an alternative plan if Ruff is feeling healthy enough to come to the arena.

“I think a possibility would be that he’s in-house, but maybe not available behind the bench.”

Regier also mentioned another potential problem.

“My concern is he won’t be able to yell at the guys,” joked Regier.

Ruff has only missed one game in his Sabres career: a 5-0 loss in Atlanta on March 20, 2006, when he remained at home to deal with a medical issue regarding his daughter, Madeleine.

Whether Ruff is in the building or not, Patrick doesn’t foresee any problems for the team as they get set for yet another big divisional matchup against the Bruins.

“We’re going to prepare the team like normal. It’s going to be the same routine. We’re going to meet with Lindy today and go over preparation for tomorrow. We’re going to do everything we can to get ready to win a game tomorrow. That’s our focus. If he isn’t behind the bench, we’re confident we can handle it. I’m hoping and expecting to see him here tomorrow. I don’t know if it’ll be in the morning or later on.”

Regier did confirm that Thomas Vanek won’t return to the lineup on Wednesday, as he continues to recover from an upper body injury suffered January 31 in Montreal. Vanek has started skating on his own, and Regier wouldn’t rule him out for this weekend’s back-to-back home games against Dallas (Fri.) and Tampa Bay (Sat.).
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