SUN Hockey Pool

Butler cut for 30 stitches

Flames defenceman Chris Butler cut his leg on goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's during a game against...

Flames defenceman Chris Butler cut his leg on goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff's during a game against the Oilers at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Feb. 21, 2012. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 AM ET

CALGARY - Three weeks may seem like a long layoff for a cut on the leg.

Unless you’re the one who looked down and saw a gaping wound under his sliced hockey sock.

“I had a pretty good idea it was fairly significant when I looked down when I went to get up and saw the type of cut that it was,” said Flames defenceman Chris Butler, the latest member of his team to be lost long-term with injury after a laceration suffered in Tuesday night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers at the Saddledome.

“I guess I kind of panicked a little bit, kind of motioned towards the bench and couldn’t put a lot of pressure on it.”

He knows he’s lucky it wasn’t a more serious injury.

Diving in an attempt to break up a pass, Butler crashed into the Flames crease and collided with goalie Miikka Kiprusoff in the process before smacking his head into the crossbar.

He quickly realized something was wrong.

“As I was getting up, I went to push off — kind of had my knee at 90 degrees and went to push off — and kind of felt like a cramp. I looked down and saw that my sock was cut open, saw a cut there,” Butler said. “It certainly didn’t feel good. That’s when I realized there was something wrong. It’s a sizeable cut — it could have been worse. Very little muscle damage and nothing wrong with the tendon — I can still move my leg and things like that.

“Especially in that area with muscles and tendons and ligaments all kind of being attached in that area, it was a little nerve-wracking. But once the doctors kind of froze it up in there and got a chance to look at it and dig around and realize that everything structurally was pretty much alright, that was pretty comforting.”

It took about 30 stitches to close up.

“It was deep. They had to do some stuff on the inside — sew a little bit of the fascia, I believe — and then just deal with the outside,” Butler continued. “The lucky part with it being a skate is it was a pretty clean cut. Unfortunately, I came to find out that Kipper likes his skates pretty sharp.”

Michael Cammalleri knows exactly what being cut on the ice is like.

While with the Montreal Canadiens earlier this season, he was nicked over the knee by a teammate’s skate and missed a couple of weeks while it healed.

“I could kind of see right in — it wasn’t nice,” Cammalleri recalled of his own cut. “Blood was pouring out pretty rapidly, and a lot of it. I’m no doctor, I don’t know how much blood you can lose before it’s serious. I don’t know if I’ve cut an artery. I don’t know what’s down there. I don’t know how deep it is. I guess the fear of the unknown was what got me.

“It takes a while to heal. I came back after a couple of weeks, and it kind of got infected a little bit. Some of the stitches didn’t take. It was kind of sore for a while — it wasn’t great.”

The wait will be just as painful — both physically and mentally — for Butler, who watched Wednesday’s Flames practice from the bench in street clothes.

“It’s frustrating. You never want to be out — you want to play every game — especially this time of the year with the situation we’re in, being a part of the playoff push,” Butler said. “Missing a little bit of time is not going to be easy.”

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNMacfarlane


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