Kapanen goes down with injury

DAVID W. UNKLE and PATRICK WILLIAMS -- Special to SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

VOORHEES, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Flyers training camp is beginning to look like a M.A.S.H. unit following the loss of forward Sami Kapanen.

According to a Flyers' press release on Thursday, Kapanen suffered a right shoulder injury (superior labrum anterior posterior or SLAP). "Last week, Sami had a collision with one of our players when they were fooling around," said Flyers' general manager Bob Clarke.

Kapanen, who joins centre Peter Forsberg and defenceman Derian Hatcher as injured Flyers, seemed to indicate a different timetable for when the injury occurred.

"I guess it was about three or four weeks back, and I think I kind of fell down on my shoulder," said Kapanen. "I can't even finger-point any hits in the past. I don't know how many weeks we've been skating, and it's been sore ever since then."

The MRI performed Wednesday revealed a partial thickness tear of his rotator cuff, which, according to Clarke, will require surgery next week by team physician Dr. Peter DeLuca.

The injury is usually seen in baseball pitchers due to repetitive stress of the biceps.

Surgical repair of SLAP injuries are traditionally performed arthroscopically with varying estimates on a return to play. Clarke estimated Kapanen will miss approximately 10 weeks from the date of surgery.

"I think there's a couple weeks now where we don't play any regular season games, so it kind of shortens up the time you're going to miss in the season," said Kapanen.

"I think it's better to fix it now than to try and play with a bad shoulder and get to the point where it needs to be fixed in the middle of the season and be in a bad spot going into the playoffs."

In a number of published medical studies, the size of the rotator-cuff tear is the single most-important factor in the rehabilitation, recovery, and final result of surgery.

Kapanen is no stranger to the operating room being on the tail end of rehabilitation from a knee injury. "I just got my knee fixed over the summer, and I've been rehabbing almost two months with that," said Kapanen.

To replace Kapanen on the Flyers roster, the team announced the signing of 6-1, 200-pound forward Brian Savage to a one-year contract.

"We felt that he has been a really good goal scorer in the National Hockey League, has good speed and is a skilled hockey player," said Clarke in making the announcement.

"Losing Kapanen for at least two months leaves us shallow at forward, so we thought that getting a player like Savage would really help our team."

A number of other options include prospects Ben Eager and Riley Cote.

Both players had solid seasons with the Philadelphia Phantoms in 2004-05 and have impressed the coaching staff in the early days of training camp.


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