RNH not an injury worry: Oilers GM

Edmonton Oilers rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plays against the Vancouver Canucks during the first...

Edmonton Oilers rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plays against the Vancouver Canucks during the first period of their NHL game in Vancouver, British Columbia Dec. 26, 2011. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

EDMONTON - An 18-year-old franchise player with shoulder problems can be a frightening thought, but Steve Tambellini isn't thinking about it.

Nor is he frightened.

He believes it's just bad luck that two of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins's last three games ended in shoulder injuries.

"I don't want Ryan to get hurt, but if you get hurt you get hurt," said the Oilers GM. "I'd rather him not having to deal with those big bodies like that, but he'll be fine. It's nothing that's going to deter him from being the player that he is."

Nugent-Hopkins was down for a month after sliding into the boards Jan. 2 in Chicago and, just two games after returning, he was out of the lineup again after bumping the same shoulder in a minor collision with Toronto's Mike Brown.

With two injuries in the same shoulder and the team in 29th place, there are some who believe he should shut it down for the season. The Oilers aren't there yet, but the qualities of patience and caution aren't lost on them.

"He felt great coming back, was cleared and strong and ran into a big body in Mike Brown," said Tambellini, who doesn't thnk they're dealing with a chronic issue. "We'll make sure he's rehabbing properly and has his total strength back before we make a decision on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins."

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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