SUN Hockey Pool

Whitney may face surgery

Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney could be facing ankle surgery. (QMI Agency file photo)

Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney could be facing ankle surgery. (QMI Agency file photo)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:15 PM ET

EDMONTON - The diagnosis isn't complete, but Ryan Whitney is limping around in a boot cast and setting up travel plans to see an ankle specialist in the U.S. to discuss possible surgery.

The optimist in him is hoping for the best (which still isn’t very good) but the rest of him is half expecting the worst.

“There’s some damage, obviously,” said the Oilers defenceman, meeting with the media Thursday morning after a Wednesday MRI that revealed little. “I have to wait about two weeks just to see the swelling go down. There’s so much inflammation they really can’t say for sure yet what’s going on.”

But they suspect it isn’t very good. They want to examine where the tendon attaches to the bone to see if there’s a dislocation there.

“I’m going to go to Charlotte in two weeks to see Dr. Anderson. He’s one of the best in the country. When I meet him it’ll be up to him if I need surgery or not. If I don’t, it’ll be a month. If I do it’s probably going to be a little longer. It’s tough to tell right now.”

Whitney had been bothered by some bursitis in his ankle, but believes this injury is unrelated.

“There has been some pain in that area, but the injury was in a different spot,” he said, adding it happened on a harmless first period play against Buffalo.

“It was just a pivot where I felt something almost pop a little bit. It was an innocent play. I might have caught a rut or something. I actually thought my skate might have broke because it felt so weird. It obviously wasn’t my skate.”

There is no good time for an injury like this, but Whitney was having a stellar season on a team that can’t afford to lose him. It hurts on all kinds of fronts.

“For three years I was pretty much unhealthy and playing pretty mediocre hockey and then this year I finally felt really good and back to the player I know I can be. You finally feel good about yourself as a player and you’re starting to really gain momentum and then this happens. It’s obviously frustrating.”

There’s nothing the rest of the Oilers, 1-5-1 in their last seven before this, can do but soldier on.

“We have a game to play tonight,” said Tom Renney. “We feel bad for the player, obviously, but I hope a lot less so for ourselves. We can’t sit back and feel sorry for ourselves in these circumstances. It’s game on, let’s go play hard for our teammate.”

Follow me at Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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