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Injury puts scare into Wild's Suter

Defenseman could have surgery to repair broken ankle as soon as Thursday

by Dan Myers @DanMyers /

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When even Ryan Suter himself knew he was injured, you knew it was bad. 

One of the most durable players of his generation, Suter sustained a serious ankle injury last week in Dallas, one which ended his season and require surgery. 

If Suter played a different sport, such as basketball or baseball, it's possible his career would be over.

"The video doesn't do it justice," Suter said by telephone on Wednesday. "It's very fluky, an injury that doesn't happen very often in sports. The doctors have said they usually only see this type of injury in car accidents."

The injury was especially frustrating for Suter, considering the innocuous nature of the play, behind the Wild goal and along the wall, where Suter was battling for a loose puck with the Stars' Remi Elie.

Suter attempted to slow his speed down heading into the end wall, but the force of Elie on his back caused his right foot to crash violently into the wall.

Suter said he knew immediately something wasn't right, as he tried not to put any weight on it. Moments later, he fell to his knees on the ice and play stopped. He needed assistance from teammates to get off the ice and down the tunnel.

X-rays revealed a broken fibula near the ankle, he said.

"We're in a boot, so [doctors] think that may have helped [protect it from further damage]," Suter said. "But they've been pretty worried."

Suter was in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Wednesday visiting with doctors and trying to find the right one to perform the operation, one which will force him to keep weight off of his right foot for four months. 

If his meetings with medical officials go well, he could have the operation as soon as Thursday.

After that, he's expected to slowly work his was back toward getting on the ice, with the goal of being ready to go for training camp in September. 

"It's frustrating," said Suter, who hadn't missed a game since the 2014-15 season and had been out just five total contests since signing with the Wild in 2012. "You grind it out all year, and to not be able to play and help out in the playoffs ... I feel bad for my teammates, but I know they will do a great job."

Video: Reaction to Ryan Suter injury in Dallas

Off the ice, the Suter family will be facing an adjustment as well. His wife, Becky, is due to give birth to the couple's fourth child at the end of the month. 

With Suter unable to put weight on his right leg, a newborn, and three other kids to chase around the house, he said he's thinking plenty about life at home as well.

"Stuff that used to be easy isn't going to be easy anymore," Suter said. "It's going to put a strain on the whole family."

Suter's injury is yet another to a key player this season. Zach Parise missed the first half of the season following back surgery. Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon have also missed considerable time with injuries at different points of the season.

Still, the Wild has persevered en route to its sixth consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and stands in third place in the Central Division standings with three games remaining in the regular season. 

"It says a lot about the guys on the this team," Suter said. "When someone has gone down, someone else has stepped up, been better and filled that void."


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