The Detroit Red Wings will be without forward Danny Cleary for at least a month after he broke his left ankle on a shot attempt by a teammate Sunday night in Minnesota.
The Riverhead, Harbour Grace native was injured in the third period of the Red Wings’ 4-1 win over the against the Wild when a shot from Brad Stuart struck his ankle.
He returned for two more shifts but was in obvious pain after the game.
“I didn’t know what was going on,” Cleary told the Detroit Free Press when explaining his return to the ice. “Sometimes in the boot, it can stay. It was sore, but I knew after the game something was wrong.”
Cleary scored his team-leading 16th goal of the season earlier in the game.
Cleary, whose injury was confirmed by X-rays, estimated he would miss “a month at least. I don’t know the terms, but there’s a fracture in my ankle.”
Cleary, who struggled for most of last season with a knee injury, scored his 16th goal in the first period. He has become an integral part of Detroit’s offense and his consistency and energy will be missed.
"Cleary is one of those … I don't think he really maybe gets the credit he deserves," defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the newspaper. "He's doing a really, really good job for us, and I think he's been one of our most important guys so far. He's one of our leaders. It's tough to lose him."
“I didn’t know what was going on. Sometimes in the boot, it can stay. It was sore, but I knew after the game something was wrong.” - Dan Cleary
The feeling is shared by Cleary, who will be replaced in the lineup by callup Jan Mursak.
"I'm really upset about it," he told the newspaper. "I don't know what to say. No bright side. Just, four or five weeks, make sure I get back to playing the way I was, that'll be the goal."
The Wings are also playing with Pavel Datsyuk, who injured his hand last week, and veteran Mike Modano, who will be out with a wrist injury until at least mid-March.
In Cleary’s place, the Red Wings recalled forward Jan Mursak from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League before Monday night’s game at Colorado. Mursak will become just the second native of Slovenia to ever play in the NHL, joining Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, as well as the 112th Griffins' alumnus to skate in the league.
With Files from the Detroit Free Press