Mitchell out indefinitely with broken vertebra in back

Updated: January 30, 2008, 1:07 AM ET
Associated Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell is out indefinitely with a broken vertebra in his back.

Willie Mitchell


Vancouver Canucks


2008 Season Stats
47 1 6 7 7 60

Vancouver recalled defenseman Nathan McIver from the AHL on Tuesday to take Mitchell's place.

Mitchell missed the last three games before the All-Star break, didn't play in Tuesday's 4-3 loss against Dallas and will not travel with the team to Tampa Bay for the start of four-game road trip Thursday.

But Mitchell, who played with the injury for nine games before sitting out, has skated on his own the last two days and could return during the trip.

"It is a fracture so it is bone and bone does take a little while, but that said all hockey players have played through a little bit of pain in our careers," Mitchell said. "You want to be smart about it, not stupid. ... A little bit of discomfort is all right, but not the acute pain I had at the end."

Mitchell has one goal and six assists in 47 games but has a plus-7 rating despite being matched regularly against the opponent's top lines. He was minus-4 in the nine games he played with the injury.

The team also called up goalie Drew MacIntyre, who backed up Curtis Sanford against Dallas, while No. 1 netminder Roberto Luongo remains in Florida with his pregnant wife.

Luongo spent the All-Star break with his wife at their home in Florida. Luongo, who withdrew from Sunday's All-Star Game and was also given permission to miss the Canucks' first home game after the break, will rejoin the team when they travel to Tampa Bay.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press