Add Tuomo Ruutu to the list of players who probably won’t participate in the 2012-13 regular season – if there is one.
Canes Now’s Chip Alexander reports that Ruutu underwent hip surgery that will keep him out an indefinite amount of time, with Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford giving a vague “months” estimate.
“We’re not sure how long he will be out,” Rutherford said. “Certainly through the regular season, if we play it. Maybe longer.”
Many will reflexively wonder why Ruutu went under the knife so late in the process when the lockout provided players with an unusual opportunity to recover from off-season surgeries.
Rutherford explains that it was an issue that “just flared up” and that Ruutu passed his end-of-the-season physical.
“In August he started complaining about it,” Rutherford said. “He tried a number of things to rehab it but it got to the point the doctors recommended surgery.
“There was really nothing that signaled surgery might be necessary. It just flared up. Like most athletes, hockey players have a lot of wear and tear on their hips.”
Either way, it’s a big loss for a Hurricanes team that made splashy moves in the off-season by acquiring Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin. Ruutu has rotated 50-plus and 30-plus point seasons the last four campaigns, but he always brings a physical edge that makes him a useful power forward.
Perhaps he’ll heal up quickly enough to help the Canes if they make the postseason, but even that sounds doubtful at this point.