Pisani out indefinitely

The Oilers' Fernando Pisani will miss at least the beginning of the season. (Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

The Oilers' Fernando Pisani will miss at least the beginning of the season. (Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

In stunning news yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers announced that Fernando Pisani will be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Pisani asked for the media to respect his privacy while he undergoes treatment and learns exactly how serious it might be and what his future, short term or long term may hold.

The homegrown 2005 Stanley Cup playoff scoring star will miss at least the beginning of the season.

It is a chronic disease which involves inflammation of the colon and the formation of sores on the inner lining of the colon or large intestine. Although it may affect people of any age, it usually begins between the ages of 16 and 25. Pisani is 30.

The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. It occurs when the immune system turns against the body's own tissues, attacking them as if they were foreign invaders.

Contrary to common belief, ulcerative colitis does not appear to be caused by emotional stress or dietary factors.

The team exceptionally thin on talented forwards has lost the player who scored 14 goals in the playoffs two years ago.

Oilers GM Kevin Lowe gave no indication of the timetable which would bring Pisani back to the team.

"We are very concerned about Fernando's medical condition and we wish him nothing but a full and healthy recovery.

"Hockey will be secondary until he gets the care and treatment required," said Lowe in a statement.

"As a result, the Oilers will move into our training camp and pre-season and not have Fernando available for our lineup.

"I know the Edmonton Investors Group and all Oilers fans hope to see him recover quickly and be an active player with our team as soon as possible."

Lowe will likely talk about the situation more thoroughly tomorrow when rookies show up for team medicals.

Pisani, also in a statement, said, "I would like to thank everyone who has supported me through this difficult time, especially my wife and family. I appreciate all the wonderful words of encouragement I have received, including messages from my teammates. I look forward to returning to the Oilers."

An assistant captain, Pisani signed a four-year $8 million U.S. contract with the team last year.


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