Ruutu to Undergo Season-Ending Surgery
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The procedure will correct a problem that Ruutu has dealt with for much of the season’s second half, having originally left the lineup on January 8 against Colorado. Although he returned the ice one month later, coach Paul Maurice said that the player has not felt 100 percent.
”He’s been dealing with this since he’s come off rehab, and it’s come to the point where he just can’t play the game that he needs to play,” said Maurice.
Ruutu injury comes at a time when Tim Gleason and Alex Picard are questionable to return in the final nine games of the year. Cam Ward has a much better chance, and could return as soon as next week.
Despite the injury, Ruutu had still been effective in recent weeks. Maurice praised the player’s physical style in recent games against Phoenix and Boston, but went on to say that he noticed a drop-off in the four subsequent contests.
”Give him all the credit because he’s played in some pain and played his game in some pain,” said Maurice. “He was very, very physical for as long as he could be, but he just can’t do it anymore.”
Ruutu’s recovery window has not yet been released, although Maurice noted that the rehab period will be “extensive.”
Maurice said the team’s position in the playoff hunt, which has been set back by a loss to Buffalo and an overtime loss to Tampa Bay in the last two games, was not a factor in the timing of the procedure.
“It had nothing to do with that,” he said. “If he was able to compete like he did against Phoenix and Boston and continue that, he’d still be playing. He’s just not capable of doing that and I don’t think anybody would be.”
The Hurricanes are expected to recall a yet-to-be-determined player from Albany to take Ruutu’s place. If lines from Wednesday’s practice are any indication, that player would likely play left wing with Patrick Dwyer and Jussi Jokinen.