Visnovsky's injury season-ending

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

What would an Oilers year be without a season-ending shoulder injury?

They'd sure love to find out after losing their fourth player in the last three years to what's become a rather annoying and costly epidemic.

"Sometimes those things run in cycles," said head coach Craig MacTavish, after the Oilers announced that Lubomir Visnovsky, scheduled for surgery tomorrow, is joining a club that includes Ethan Moreau, Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray.

"It was a really innocent play, too. He just tried to fight battle hard (behind the net against Chicago last week) and it just popped out.

"We just want to get him fixed up so he's ready to go for next year rather than trying to piece him along this year and not have a full recovery for next year."

It's the same tact they used on Moreau, who missed all of the 2006-07 season with a shoulder injury after swinging wide with a punch in the first week of the season.

Last year, Souray missed the bulk of the season after falling on his shoulder in a fight and Horcoff's shoulder eventually gave way to wear and tear shortly after the 2008 all-star game.

"By getting on it quick now and having a good rehab hopefully he'll be back playing by September," said Oilers athletic therapist Ken Lowe, adding Visnovsky's injury (a torn labrum) is closer to Horcoff's than Souray's.

"Once you rebuild it and get it strong he should be just as good as new."

He leaves behind a significant hole. With 31 points he was fourth in team scoring while his mobility and first-pass accuracy made Edmonton's forwards better (although lately that's been hard to tell).

"He's one of the premier players, not only on our team, but in the league. His absence is going to be missed," said Souray. "But, right now, with the situation we're in, it's no time to be sitting here thinking about what we don't have. We have to find a way to get points.

"We're going to keep on keeping on here, we're not going to look back and see who we don't have."

Horcoff feels Visnovsky's pain, but knows from experience the best thing to do is shut it down for the season.

"I was in the exact same situation last year," he said.

"It's a six-month injury to recover from no matter what. If he gets it done now he's going to be 100% healthy for the start of next season," Horcoff added.

"You never want to lose a player like that, but there's times where you just have to do the smart thing."


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