Ballard's flexible approach to injury

Keith Ballard's knee-twisting injury was painful to watch Monday evening. (REUTERS)

Keith Ballard's knee-twisting injury was painful to watch Monday evening. (REUTERS)

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:49 PM ET

By now, the picture of Keith Ballard's injury has made the rounds, both in print and online.

The timely image captures the Canucks defenceman's right leg twisting in unnatural directions while he falls to the ice screaming in pain.

"It looks worse than it was," said Ballard, who was walking on his own Tuesday. "I didn't think I could bend like that. I'm not the most flexible person so it's pretty impressive."

The 28-year-old suffered the injury on his first shift of the game Monday when he got tangled up with Ottawa Senators forward Milan Michalek behind the Vancouver net. The blueliner fell awkwardly, was helped off the ice and didn't return to the game. He was scheduled to have an MRI later Tuesday and the team said they would know the extent of the injury by Wednesday morning.

"I don't think bodies are supposed to move like that," he said. "It was stiff this morning. I've been here for a few hours today doing treatment and it's helped quite a bit."

Ballard wouldn't go as far as calling the incident a slewfoot, at least not until he sees a proper replay first.

"I'm not saying specifically this was a dirty play," he said. "I'd have to watch it slowed down to be able to tell if he kicked me or pulled me down."

Teammate Kevin Bieksa hadn't dissected the play enough either, but did offer his two cents.

"More than anything, it was bad luck," Bieksa said. "His foot just got caught in behind him. Stuff like that happens when you battle in the corners. I'm sure Michalek didn't intend to hurt him, I think he just wanted more leverage."

With Vancouver having suffered a long list of injuries on their blueline this season, GM Mike Gillis said the latest woe was just another setback.

"Everyone's going through injury issues," he said. "It just seems like our style of play, defenceman tend to get injured and we have to have enough of them. It's unfortunate guys get hurt. It allows us to get other players back in the lineup so I guess there's some benefit but in my mind not a whole lot."

Sami Salo, who played his third and final game with the Manitoba Moose Tuesday, could return Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

Just a scare

With Ballard out, the Canucks brass must have held their collective breath Tuesday when Andrew Alberts was hit in the throat by a deflected puck during practice.

After staying down on the ice for about a minute, the defenceman skated to the bench on his own and returned the next shift.

"It was just a scary moment," Alberts said afterwards. "I couldn't breathe for a while, the wind got knocked out of me. I'm fine now."

No Lu, no worries

Cory Schneider will get the start against the Anaheim Ducks Wednesday with Roberto Luongo absent from Tuesday's practice with the flu.

The rookie goaltender had already been scheduled to play the game, however, against a Ducks team who have won eight of their last 11 games.

"They're playing really well," Schneider said. "They're a real dangerous team so we've got to be on top of our game."


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