Injuries keep coming for Wild

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 15, 2011 - 10:23 PM

The latest is captain Mikko Koivu, who hurt his leg in overtime against Chicago. First word is it isn't serious.

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Mikko Koivu (right)

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The Wild has overcome an onslaught of injuries all season, but the already-ravaged team could be facing another lofty challenge.

Captain Mikko Koivu suffered a leg injury late in overtime Wednesday night against Chicago, an injury that kept him from taking part in an area he normally masters -- the shootout.

To make the Wild even thinner, according to two sources, second-line winger Casey Wellman, originally thought to be a healthy scratch Wednesday, has a wrist injury -- one the team is hoping is not as serious as feared.

But Wellman couldn't hold his stick during Wednesday's warmups. X-rays didn't reveal the injury, so he was sent for a MRI test Wednesday, sources say.

Koivu, according to sources, was also sent to doctors to be examined, but the undisclosed injury is not considered to be serious.

Still, injuries to Koivu, the first-line center, and Wellman, the second-line left wing, come in the wake of injuries to three other top-six forwards.

Left wing Guillaume Latendresse is out indefinitely after suffering what coach Mike Yeo termed post-concussion syndrome against the Blackhawks -- one game after returning from a concussion that caused him to miss 15 games. First-line left and right wing Devin Setoguchi has missed four games and counting because of a knee injury, while second-line right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard is out with what the team hopes is only a broken nose.

Because of Bouchard's past concussion problems, the team is being cautious.

On Thursday afternoon, the Wild was waiting to hear back whether Koivu, Bouchard or Wellman will miss Saturday's game against the Islanders and beyond.

Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher were unavailable Thursday, but a full injury report is expected after Friday's practice.

With no extra forwards and an uncertain lineup, the Wild might have to recall one or two forwards from the Houston Aeros, its American Hockey League affiliate.

The Wild's roster is at the maximum 23 players. It likely will place Latendresse on injured reserve. If the team is unsure if any of the other injuries are longer term than a week, it might need to promote forwards from Houston on an "emergency recall" basis to fit under the 23-man roster.

Koivu was injured on his last shift Wednesday. In the final minute of overtime, he set up Marco Scandella's scoring chance with a breakout pass. Scandella got his own rebound, circled the net and threw the puck in the crease.

When the Wild couldn't convert a Dany Heatley rebound, Marian Hossa took off on a 2-on-1 with Nick Leddy. Koivu tried to chase, but he pulled up in discomfort near center-ice after barely being grazed by Patrick Sharp. Koivu continued his backcheck until colliding with Hossa in the corner, then dragged himself to the bench.

Wellman was slashed during Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.

Through 32 games, the Wild has lost 106 man games to injury. The Wild's reporting it as 118, but that's because of Cody Almond's pre-training camp back injury. But he wasn't certain to make the team and was in Houston rehabbing for much of the 12 games the Wild has him missing.

Regardless of whether it's 106 or 118, that's a lot of man games. To put it in perspective, the Blackhawks have lost 21 man games to injury and the Wild entered Thursday's action as the No. 1 team in the NHL.

Harding ready

Goalie Josh Harding will be available to play Saturday's game. Having missed the past four games because of whiplash, Harding was activated off injured reserve Thursday and Matt Hackett was reassigned.

  • WILD • Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. New York Islanders at Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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