Hedman could play in games next week; Bergeron to have surgery
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, is expected to return to practice Monday and could play sometime next week, head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan said.
But veteran defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron has apparently decided to have surgery to fix his lower-back injury, which will end his season.
Hedman, 21, has seen a couple doctors this week, and underwent tests by a specialist in Michigan Friday. Though Hedman suffered a concussion earlier this season, Mulligan said a concussion has been ruled out in this instance, with the team encouraged by the results.
"He's making great progress, and if things keep going the way they're going, we're hopeful he'll be back to play within the next week," Mulligan said. "Throughout the week he's seen a few doctors and we wanted to evaluate and see how he's doing. There's no concerns for anything long-term, no issues. He's relieved."
Hedman, a 6-foot-6 Swede, is one of the team's top defenseman, and his return will give a boost to a team four points out of the final playoff spot.
Bergeron, who has missed 22 of the past 23 games with a bulging disk that is affecting his sciatic nerve. He had surgery in April 2009 while with the Wild to address a similar issue, and tweeted Saturday he's going to undergo surgery again. "Surgery in sight, unfortunate but it's the reality of professional sport."
-- JOE SMITH