Colorados Joe Sakic breaks three fingers in snow blower accident

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. Joe Sakics return to the ice has been sidetracked by a snow blower.

The Colorado Avalanche captain, already out with back problems, broke three fingers on his left hand when he tried to clear snow from the machine at his home and will be out at least three months.

The Avalanche announced Sakic had surgery Tuesday night for the broken fingers, which included tendon damage in one of them. Team doctor Andy Parker said the procedure went well and that Sakic is expected to make a full recovery.

Its a freak accident. It can happen to anyone, Avalanche defenceman Adam Foote said. His health is the most important. Well worry about the hockey part after that.

Sakic was already being treated for a herniated disk, which was expected to keep him out until mid-January.

Its been an injury-filled season for the 39-year-old Sakic, who decided to return for a 20th year after almost retiring during the off-season. Sakic had his most trying season last year, missing 38 games after hernia surgery.

The centre originally strained his back in the weight room in early November, causing him to miss a game against Minnesota.

He returned two days later before being sidelined five more games because of his bad back. He hasnt played since hurting it again in his first shift in a game at Phoenix on Nov. 28.

Sakic also missed a game this season with an infected tooth.

Foote tried to cheer up Sakic after his operation.

Keep your head up. The most important thing is your fingers are still with ya, recounted Foote, whos missed the last nine games with back and knee injuries stemming from a check by Los Angeles John Zeiler in November. Theres not much you can say. Im sure he was still in a little bit of shock .... This was just a fluke.

Given the condition of his back and now his latest injury, have the Avalanche possibly seen the last of their longtime captain?

God, I hope not, Foote said. I doubt it, knowing his personality. If hes healthy enough, hell get back. The most important thing is him getting through the mental part. Who knows what couldve happened?

Sakics climb up the NHL records books is on hold. Hes 14th in goals (625), 11th in assists (1,016) and eighth in points (1,641).

Hes going to do everything he can to get back, Colorado coach Tony Granato said. If theres anyone thats going to get back quicker than youre supposed to ... it will be Joe. Im not worried about that.

Organizations: Colorado Avalanche, NHL

Geographic location: Minnesota, Phoenix, Colorado

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