Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning center Halpern needs knee surgery

Lightning center Jeff Halpern knows what a torn anterior cruciate ligament feels like. He suffered a complete tear of his left ACL in 2002, requiring surgery that cost him half a season. That's why the 32-year-old was apparently so concerned when he was helped off the ice with an injured right knee in Team USA's 5-4 loss to Canada on Tuesday in the IIHF World Championships at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

He was more right than he knew, and it could cost him at least the first month of the 2008-09 NHL season. Halpern was diagnosed by Capitals team physician Benjamin Shaffer on Wednesday with a complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament, and at least partially torn medial collateral ligament and a small tear to the lateral meniscus. According to a team release, Shaffer and the Lightning medical staff have recommended that Halpern wait 4-6 weeks for trauma from the MCL injury to settle before surgically reconstructing the ACL. Rehabilitation is expected to take 5-6 months, which would eliminate his preseason and the first month of the regular season.

Agent Mike Liut said Halpern was "pretty low, but he's been down this road before. He knows what he has to do." That includes, he said, hopefully accelerating the timetable for surgery if the knee cooperates. Liut considers Shaffer's timetable "outer markers" for recovery.

Shaffer performed the surgery on Halpern's left knee when he was member of that team. Halpern played 48 games in 2001-02, the season in which he was injured, but returned for a full season the next year.

"It's a tough one, but Jeff will work hard and rehab this," Liut said. "The unfortunate thing is he played so well for Tampa. You try to play these international competitions, and they're a lot of fun, and the U.S. had a great team, but something like this can happen."

Halpern came to the Lightning as an extra piece in the trade deadline deal that sent Brad Richards to the Stars, but he soon became a most valuable addition. He helped rejuvenate the second line, scoring 10 goals (18 points) in 19 games, and linemate Michel Ouellet had nine in the same span.

Coach John Tortorella, who is also guiding Team USA, had extolled Halpern's attributes before he arrived in Tampa, saying he was the team's best offensive and defensive center much of the time. The coach saw an expanded role for Halpern in 2008-09, saying he "couldn't be more excited about the prospect of where's he going to fit in our lineup next year."

Lightning center Halpern needs knee surgery 05/07/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 11, 2008 8:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  2. Rays journal: Blake Snell continues roll in win over Cubs (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was still a game in the fifth inning when LHP Blake Snell walked the leadoff batter, then allowed a single. One swing by the Cubs' Ian Happ (22 home runs) could put a dent in the Rays' three-run lead.

    Blake Snell allows just two hits in pitching seven scoreless innings.
  3. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    One success story of this lost season is the emergence of LHP Blake Snell as the frontline starter the Rays projected. After a rough start and two demotions, he has been rolling, Wednesday's solid seven innings making him 4-0, 2.57 in his past eight starts.

  5. Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Orioles

    7:05, Camden Yards, Baltimore

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    This is a 2017 photo of Matt Andriese of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)