Oilers' Whitney faces surgery

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney faces possible season-ending surgery after injuring his...

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney faces possible season-ending surgery after injuring his ankle in December. (Edmonton Sun file)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 PM ET

EDMONTON - ANAHEIM — Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney will likely have surgery to repair his injured ankle and could be done for the season.

Whitney, sidelined since late December, is in North Carolina today to consult with a specialist on the type of surgery required.

“The doctor, after looking at some of the reports, is going to assess (the injury) and determine what needs to take place,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.

“We don’t really know a time frame until he gets down there and the doctor has a look and sees what has to be done.”

Acquired last season in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks for Lubomir Visnovsky, Whitney was having one of his best seasons as a professional.

At the time of his injury, he led the team in scoring with two goals and 25 assists, and was averaging a team-high 25:20 of playing time per game, with a plus-13 rating.

Losing Whitney for the balance of the season would be a huge blow to a team that had dropped 10 of their last 12 games heading into last night’s clash with the Ducks in Anaheim.

“It doesn’t matter what the injury is, the significance or how long the player might be out,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “We always deal with what’s in front of us, and that’s really the only way to go.

“It’s about the next game, it’s about the next period, and it’s about the guys that are able to play that night.

“We don’t really discuss among ourselves the players that are hurt. It is important for the guys that are on the job to consider only that.

“We feel for a teammate that is injured, obviously. We don’t know Ryan’s status, but in the meantime, guys have to worry about one thing and that’s winning hockey games.”

The former first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins was on pace to surpass his career-high point total of 59.

Last summer, Whitney had surgery on his feet, which were giving him problems. The doctor he’s visiting in North Carolina is the same one that operated on his feet.

“It’s looking like he’s going to have to have surgery at this point,” Tambellini said.

“I guess it depends on what has to be done, and what they’ve told us from the initial reports on the ankle, he (doctor) needs to get in there and look and assess, and then we’ll know exactly how much time he’ll be out.

“But obviously, it’ll be a good amount of time before he’s playing again.

“Ryan has dealt with this surgeon before, so he’s quite comfortable with him. Other NHL players have worked with him too, so he’s quite confident that he’ll have a full recovery.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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