St. Petersburg Times
Tampa Bay Lightning

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Lecavalier likely out for tonight

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 21, 2002

NEW YORK -- Vinny Lecavalier still doesn't understand how he hurt his knee Saturday night.

All he knows is after taking a shot during the first period against the Penguins, he lost his balance and put, as he said, "all my weight on my right knee to try to hold myself up."

But the knee buckled, and now it appears the center will miss at least tonight's game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden with what is being called a sprain. An MRI is scheduled for today in New York.

"I don't know what happened," Lecavalier said Sunday, adding his skate did not get caught in the ice. "It's unbelievable."

Lecavalier, who has been hot with three goals and four assists in his first three games, said he spent the day icing the knee in his hotel room and acknowledged the pain had increased.

"It's stiff and sore," he said.

Head medical trainer Tom Mulligan said that was expected.

"Usually overnight, it will stiffen up because he's not using it and the swelling settles in the knee," he said. "It's nothing unusual."

Mulligan said Lecavalier's knee has full range of motion and shows no symptoms of a tear. He said a worst-case scenario has Lecavalier missing "a few days to a week," though no determination will be made until after the MRI.

Lecavalier, 22, missed the second half of the first period against the Penguins. He played the second period with a brace but sat out the third.

The Lightning responded well, scoring twice in the third to earn a 3-3 tie and up its franchise-record, season-opening unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1).

Still, Lecavalier's teammates said they missed his presence on two key failed power plays in the third period, one of which included 1:40 of a five-on-three.

"We'll see how it is in the morning," Mulligan said.

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