Kubina avoids surgery

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Pavel Kubina will not have surgery on his injured left knee....

Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Pavel Kubina will not have surgery on his injured left knee. (Toronto Sun File/Stan Behal)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:52 AM ET

Pavel Kubina hobbled out of the Maple Leafs dressing room yesterday at Lakeshore Lions Arena with a brace attached to his left knee.

The big defenceman, however, knows his situation could have been more dire.

"It's frustrating, but there is nothing I can do," Kubina told a group of reporters. "The only good news we have right now is there is no surgery for me. I had a great feeling (about the way things had gone for himself and the club in the past three games). I'll go day by day and work hard and come back as soon as possible."

The Leafs learned yesterday that another injured defenceman will not avoid the knife. Andy Wozniewski will undergo surgery today in Birmingham, Ala., on his separated shoulder.

"If all goes well, he should be back this season," Leafs general manager John Ferguson said last night.

It will be a surprise if the 26-year-old Wozniewski, who was hurt Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens, is not out for at least four months. Being done for the year also is possible.

Signed to a four-year, $20-million US contract on July 1, Kubina suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Monday night in a collision with the Florida Panthers' Todd Bertuzzi. This came after the 29-year-old Czech was suspended for the first game of the regular season after a stick related incident in the pre-season. Despite the good feelings about actually playing, it's doubtful Kubina will look back at this time with much fondness.

The 6-foot-4, 244-pounder will be out for at least a month, but refused to predict when he might be back in uniform.

"I wouldn't go there, I don't want to time it," said Kubina, who stressed that bad ice at the Air Canada Centre had nothing to do with causing his injury. "I would love to know but nobody knows right now."

The Leafs' defence situation is bordering on the bizarre with the number of injuries that have hit since camp opened.

Coach Paul Maurice will put Wade Belak on the blue line tonight in New Jersey against the Devils, and forward Alexander Suglobov, a former Devil, will be back in after he was a healthy scratch for three games.

Though rookie Brendan Bell has recovered from a foot injury, the earliest to expect him back would be Saturday night when the Calgary Flames visit. Even so, considering Bell was hurt in camp before he had a full chance to make the club, there is no guarantee he will return then.

But Bell is pushing for it. He was not going to practise yesterday but after a hard skate with assistant coach Keith Acton he did practise and said he was ready to go.

"I think my conditioning needs a little bit, but I would be willing to get into a game to get that back," Bell said. "The best way to get in shape is to play games. This team has defencemen dropping like flies and I want to get back as soon as I can."


Videos

Photos