Sabres D Numminen sprains knee, out two weeks

Updated: March 29, 2006, 11:53 PM ET
Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Teppo Numminen will miss up to two weeks after the veteran Sabres defenseman sprained his knee in Buffalo's 4-3 win over Boston on Wednesday night.

Coach Lindy Ruff said it's not clear when the injury occurred, noting Numminen continued playing after feeling a twinge in his knee when he fell. The defenseman played only a few minutes in the second period and did not return for the third.

Calling it a Grade 1 sprain of the MCL, Ruff didn't say which knee Numminen hurt.

A 17-year NHL veteran, Numminen has been Buffalo's steadiest defenseman this season. Besides averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time per game, his 38 points (one goal and 37 assists) are tied for the team lead among defensemen.

"That's a tough one but it's on the good side of bad news," Ruff said, noting that Numminen should return for the playoffs, which begin in three weeks.

Buffalo, which snapped an 0-5-1 skid by beating Boston, is three points from clinching its first postseason berth since 2001.

The Sabres did welcome back center Tim Connolly, who had two assists against Boston after missing seven games with a sprained left knee. Buffalo is still without forward Jochen Hecht (right knee) and Adam Mair (concussion).

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press