|Thursday, May 10|
Updated: May 11, 6:02 PM ET
Doctor: Full recovery is expected
DENVER Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg will be out
for the season after undergoing surgery to remove his ruptured
Forsberg, who leads the Avalanche in scoring, had surgery at 3
a.m. Thursday, the team said. That was after Colorado defeated the
Los Angeles Kings 5-1 Wednesday to advance to the Western
Team doctor David Mellman said he expects Forsberg to make a
full recovery and that he could be ready to play next season.
"You can function perfectly without a spleen. I don't think
there should be any restrictions," Mellman said.
He said Forsberg's spleen was ruptured sometime during Wednesday
night's game but he did not know when. He said Forsberg showed no
symptoms before the game.
Mellman said Forsberg would have to have regular immunizations
to compensate for the work of the spleen, which is part of the
body's immune system.
The fist-sized organ, in the upper abdomen, filters foreign
objects from blood and helps regulate blood to the liver. It can
also manufacture blood cells.
Pierre Lacroix, the Avalanche general manager, said Forsberg
"was all white and in pain" when he saw him at a restaurant after
Lacroix said he, Forsberg, Avalanche owner Stan Kroenke and
other players and team officials were at the restaurant when
Forsberg first complained of discomfort.
He said Forsberg told him, "I don't know what I've got. I've
got a pain in my stomach."
The news about Peter Forsberg's emergency spleen removal is devastating not only to him, but also to the Colorado Avalanche, a team that has been geared toward winning the Stanley Cup.
Pang's complete analysis
About 20 minutes later, when the pain became worse, Forsberg was
taken to Rose Medical Center in Denver, where a CAT scan revealed
spleen damage and internal bleeding.
Doctors decided to operate immediately, Mellman said. The
surgery lasted two hours.
Mellman said recovery would take months.
"It's a slow recovery from abdominal surgery," he said. "It's
a lot of pain. Other than that, he just has to get his strength
back and return to normal daily activities."
It was the third time in the playoffs that the Avalanche have
been without a key player.
Defenseman Ray Bourque missed the first two games of the Western
Conference semifinals with a strained back. Center Joe Sakic missed
two games and most of a third in that series with a bruised right
Forsberg, 27, has had four goals and 10 assists in the playoffs.
He had 27 goals and 62 assists during the regular season. In
February he played in his sixth consecutive All-Star game.
Lacroix said he thought the team would overcome the loss of
Forsberg in the playoffs. "A team filled with the experience of
this hockey club, they will use this adversity in a positive way,"
The Avalanche are scheduled to play the St. Louis Blues on
Saturday in Denver in the first game of the Western Conference
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Thu, May 10
It would seem that Forsberg sustained an impact during the game -- in hockey it would be very easy to be subjected to the injury in any number of ways, against the boards, with a stick, another player's shoulder or knee -- and didn't show symptoms for some hours after the game.
Dr. Punch's complete analysis
Call a superhero, Colorado
Colorado Avalanche news conference
Dr. David Mellman says it was necessary for Peter Forsberg to undergo surgery to remove his spleen.
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Colorado coach Bob Hartley feels his team has been able to deal with adversity all season long.
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