Friday, July 26, 2002
Straka, Pens decide to delay surgery
ESPN.com news services
PITTSBURGH -- It now looks as if Pittsburgh Penguins forward Martin Straka will not be ready for the start of next season.
Straka cracked a vertebra in his back and suffered ligament damage during a weightlifting accident
Monday in the Czech Republic.
The Penguins' doctors and those treating him in the Czech Republic decided on Thursday to wait six weeks before deciding if he will have surgery to repair the vertebra and the ligament, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. There is no set timetable for his return, but it seems unlikely that Straka would be ready for the Pens' season opener on Oct. 10.
"Their decision was to give his injuries a chance to heal themselves," Straka's agent, Rich Winter, told the newspaper on Thursday. "They feel there is a chance it could work out that way, which would allow them to avoid surgery."
The damaged vertebra will likely heal in two months. However, the doctors are not sure if the torn ligament will heal on its own.
Straka and teammate Milan Kraft were lifting weights on a
machine when the 375-pound apparatus slid on a carpet and fell on
him, trapping him and preventing him from breathing. Straka briefly
lost feeling in his extremities
The preliminary diagnosis is the vertebra, in the middle portion
of his spine, had one of its two wing-shaped exterior pieces
chipped. Ligament damage in that area is apparently causing Straka
the most discomfort.
Straka had a career-high 95 points in 2000-01, Mario Lemieux's
comeback season with the team, but was limited to 13 games last
season because of a twice-broken right leg and a fractured orbital
above his left eye.
Straka was planning to return to the ice on July 29 for the
first time since breaking his leg again March 7.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.