Leafs' Mike Brown shatters his finger

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:56 PM ET

TORONTO - To those who brand most NHLers as over-paid underachievers, Ron Wilson would like to submit a DVD of Mike Brown’s past few games.

The fourth-line winger blocked a shot in a sensitive area of the groin, took treatment and rushed back after missing a game, then broke a finger trying to protect a lead Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In obvious pain after stopping a Ryan Malone drive, he threw himself in front of another shot, too. Brown might not be back until mid January if he undergoes surgery on the finger.

“There’s a pretty good possibility he’ll have a pin put in and that would probably mean four to six weeks,” Wilson said Wednesday at the MasterCard Centre. “Considering he was still sore where it counts and still went down to block the shot tells you something about Mike Brown. And he went down again to block another one after he’d shattered his finger, so it was a pretty courageous effort on his part.”

Brown’s loss coincides with the imminent return of winger Colby Armstrong from his own knuckle tendon injury that has sidelined him since Oct. 26.

Wednesday was Armstrong’s first full practice, but Wilson said it will likely take a couple of days to get his skating up to par and thus doesn’t expect Armstrong back until Saturday’s game against Boston.

The Leafs had called up winger Joey Crabb from the Toronto Marlies before Tuesday’s game and still have centre John Mitchell as a spare, who can take Brown’s spot on left wing.

Also nearly ready to return is goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere from a groin injury, who Wilson is leaning towards holding him back until Saturday, with Jonas Gustavsson playing so well of late. Gustavsson takes a .914 save percentage into Thursday’s game against the Oilers.

“I was cleared last night and I feel ready to go whenever,” Giguere said. “To be honest, I don’t know what is going to happen. Jonas has been playing pretty good.”

Brown’s and Gustavsson’s heroics were wasted in large part when Toronto let a 3-1 lead slip away to the Lightning and lost 4-3 in overtime.

“That’s the way it is,” Gustavsson said Wednesday. “We’re going to score a lot of goals that way, too. You can’t really think about it today, you have to keep going and we will have the bounces going our way next game.”


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