Rangers defenseman has break, sprain

Updated: January 21, 2004, 12:13 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- New York Rangers defenseman Darius Kasparaitis will be sidelined 10-12 weeks with a left knee injury, the team announced Tuesday night.

Kasparaitis was injured on a knee-to-knee collision with Bruins defenseman Dan McGillis in the second period of Monday's 5-2 loss at Boston. An MRI on Tuesday revealed a tibial plateau fracture and a Grade II MCL sprain.

The team initially thought, before the exam, that Kasparaitis would be out less than two weeks.

"The doctor showed me on the X-rays, and I was shocked," Rangers coach and general manager Glen Sather said.

Losing Kasparaitis for the rest of the regular season is a major blow to the Rangers, who are trying to secure their first playoff berth since 1997.

New York also will be without defenseman Greg de Vries at least two more weeks as he recovers from a sprained right knee. Defenseman Tom Poti missed Tuesday's finale of the home-and-home series with Boston because of a back injury.

"Anytime you've got three of your regular defensemen out of your lineup, it's tough," Rangers captain Mark Messier said. "I don't think we can panic at this point. We have a little adversity and injuries out of nowhere that have hit us."

Sather said he will try to acquire another defenseman to replace Kasparaitis, who is second among Rangers defensemen with a plus-11 rating. In 44 games this season, the 31-year-old has one goal, nine assists and 48 penalty minutes.

"Nobody is going to grow a defenseman for us that can play in the National Hockey league today," Sather said. "We have to make a deal for one."

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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