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  • Tuesday, November 9, 1999

    Canucks defenceman undergoing eye surgery

     VANCOUVER (CP) -- Defenceman Mattias Ohlund will undergo surgery today in an attempt to repair his right eye that has kept him out of the Vancouver Canucks lineup all season.
     
     The Canucks received more bad news later Tuesday when captain Mark Messier was helped off the ice with an injured right knee with only one minute gone in Vancouver's game against the San Jose Sharks.
     
     At least two specialists will perform the operation on Ohlund at a local hospital, said Canucks general manager Brian Burke.
     
     "The doctors had felt all along the ideal situation would be that Mattie's own healing process would solve this problem and it hasn't," Burke said.
     
     "They are confident they'll know right away whether or not the surgery was successful."
     
     Ohlund, 23, injured his eye when he was hit in the face by a puck during a Sept. 21 exhibition game against Ottawa. Blood and fluid has pooled in the eye, severely restricting his vision.
     
     Burke wanted to wait until after the operation before speculating on when, or even if, Ohlund will return to action this season.
     
     "If we do nothing and it's status quo, he's not going to be able to play again," Burke said.
     
     "So far there's not even been close to enough healing that he'll be able to play. With the procedure there is some risk but obviously our doctors have recommended it because they think it will help."
     
     Ohlund spent the first two weeks after the injury laying flat on his back in bed. It wasn't until Thanksgiving he was finally allowed to begin walking.
     
     Recently he started riding the stationary bicycle and doing light workouts.
     
     Ohlund didn't attend Tuesday's game.
     
     "It's his call," Burke said about the operation.
     
     "He wants to have it. His view was 'I'm not getting any better this way.' "



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