Spezza's 'freak accident'

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

If either the Senators or the high-scoring centre himself are concerned about Jason Spezza's recent injury, they did a good job of disguising it yesterday.

Spezza had a grin on his face as he walked (albeit stiff as a board) out from the trainer's room to face a media horde looking for specifics about the medical problem that caused him to pull out of Tuesday's game against Pittsburgh 35 minutes before the opening faceoff.

He then proceeded to say he hoped to come back from an aching back for back-to-back meetings with the Toronto Maple Leafs, beginning tonight at Scotiabank Place.

"I'm not going to get into too many details," shrugged Spezza, who also missed yesterday's practice. "It was just a little spasm ... not really related to last year's (injury). It was kind of a freak accident, one of those weird things."

But alarm bells were pulled for a reason, too

MAJOR SURGERY

After suffering through the end of last season and the playoffs, Spezza required major surgery on a herniated disc in May. The operation took 3O hours and there was concern he wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, even though it was six months away.

Saying that his current troubles are "not really related" to that serious injury should be kinda, almost comforting to a team that very much needs Spezza's services from now until, oh, sometime around June if it's lucky.

As much as his detractors bemoan his turnovers, very few can produce offensively like the 23-year-old Toronto native. Spezza, who is currently running with an 11-game point scoring streak, has amassed 27 goals and 40 assists in just 52 outings this season.

He also usually does a pretty good job of burning Leafs. The best offensive night of his career was the one goal, four-assist performance against Toronto Oct. 26.

While Spezza opted not to discuss with the media what he was doing when his back flared up Monday, he told coach Bryan Murray that it happened after practice, while he was getting out of his car to do some shopping.

"He should get hooked up and then he wouldn't have to do that," Murray quipped, suggesting he was not overly concerned. "When he got out of his car, he felt a tightness in his back.

"It got better (Tuesday), but not to the point he felt he could play in the game.

"Just an old-man ... I guess a young-man problem."

Spezza says he has experienced no problems with his back since the season began. He said that missing Tuesday's game was more a precautionary measure than anything, and that "once I get rid of the pain, I'll be fine."

Said Murray: "I don't think it's anything related to what happened to him before. It's more muscle than anything. I don't know whether it was fatigue ... it might have been dehydration, it might have been sitting on the plane ... who knows, really.

"But we hope it's nothing more than that." 


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