Payne: Polak Avoids Serious Injury

Defenseman suffered a skate laceration on Saturday vs. Pittsburgh

Monday, 10.25.2010 / 6:52 PM / St Louis Blues - News
By B.J. Rains  - FoxSportsMidwest.com
ST. LOUIS – Blues defenseman Roman Polak will miss at least Thursday’s game at Nashville with a hand laceration suffered Saturday night vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Davis Payne said Monday.

Polak needed stitches to stop the cut on his right wrist, which happened when he made contact with the sharp end of Penguins star Sydney Crosby’s skate during a fluke play in the second period.

The Blues were concerned Polak might have had ligament or tendon damage but Payne said Monday that he avoided problems with both of those areas.

“He’s obviously got that laceration but the internal stuff checks out pretty good as far as the medical diagnosis goes,” Payne said. “It’s obviously a deep gash, a deep cut, but not a lot of internal stuff. We expect him to be out Thursday and then day-to-day beyond that. He’s questionable for Saturday’s game, but its pretty good news as far as we’re concerned.”

“It’s unfortunate but they stitched it back up and it will heal back and hopefully once we get past the Nashville game we’ll have a better idea as to if he’s available for Saturday or have to go beyond that.”

Polak hurried off the ice and ran quickly down the tunnel to the Blues locker room after sustaining the cut.

“It was scary,” said defenseman Barret Jackman. “He was yelling at guys to get out of the way. Any time there is a cut and obviously it was close to an artery, you’re scared but thank God it wasn’t that deep and we’re not talking about a life-threatening injury. …The look on his face was scary. You see a cut in that area and you almost lose your lunch.

“He’s a workhorse. He’s a big part of our penalty kill and he’s a guy that logs a lot of minutes playing against top players. Thank God it’s not worse than what it was but we’re definitely going to miss him for however man games he’s out.”

The 24-year-old Polak, who scored the game-winning goal Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, has emerged as one of the Blues best defenseman. The Blues plan to play Tyson Strachan in his place Thursday night but the other five defenseman – Jackman, Eric Brewer, Alex Pietrangelo, Carlo Colaiacovo and Erik Johnson – will all see increased minutes until he returns.

“He’s been playing great hockey for us,” Payne said. “He’s a big strong physical guy, great closing speed and now its a situation just like we had to finish the last half of the game, guys have to step up and eat into those minutes and get the job done about offensive players and shut people down. Tyson Strachan has been staying ready but the minutes to ‘Petro’ go up, the minutes to ‘EJ’ go up.

"This is all part of the game. Injuries happen and we'll bandage it together.”

B.J. Rains covers the Blues for the team's television partner, Fox Sports Midwest. You can read more at FoxSportsMidwest.com.

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