Kesler injured in return following hip surgery

Updated: April 12, 2007, 9:18 PM ET
Associated Press

Ryan Kesler
Kesler

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Ryan Kesler, out since January following hip surgery, was a surprise addition to the Vancouver Canucks lineup Wednesday night when they opened a first-round playoff series against the Dallas Stars.

Kesler finished the game despite fracturing the finger blocking a shot in "the sixth or seventh overtime," according to Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

"He's getting operated on and putting pins in there right now as we speak, so he'll be out anywhere from four to five weeks," said Vigneault.

Kesler had surgery Jan. 29 to repair a torn labrum, the cartilage that lines the socket of the hip. He missed the rest of the regular season but began skating with the Canucks this week, just 10 weeks after undergoing surgery that was supposed to require a 12- to 16-week recovery.

"The reason he was ahead of schedule was all the work he put in," Vigneault said. "That said, in our case he hasn't been with us since the end of January and we still found a way to win. We just go back to what we were doing before."

Kesler said on the eve of the series opener that he didn't expect to play Wednesday but hoped to be in the ice sometime in the first round.

In 48 regular-season games, Kesler had six goals and 10 assists. A lot of expectations were heaped on Kesler when he signed a $1.9 million contract with the Canucks before training camp.

The Canucks were without defenseman Brent Sopel (back spasms) in Game 1. Rory Fitzpatrick took his place in the lineup.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press