Jets Ehlers speedster arrested by sports hernia surgery

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Nikolaj Ehlers’ injury saga took another turn on Saturday, and not for the better.

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The 26-year-old will be out indefinitely and is expected to undergo sports hernia surgery next week, Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness announced ahead of Saturday night’s game between Winnipeg and the Penguins. of Pittsburgh at the Canada Life Center.

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“Details are still being finalized,” Bowness said. “We won’t know how long he’ll be out until they get in there and see what they’re dealing with.”

Ehlers has missed the last 13 games with an undisclosed lower body injury after being lame in Winnipeg’s 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Oct. 17.

The Dane took the first morning skate lines in Denver two days later before stepping out and was initially listed as a game time decision.

Last Wednesday was the first time he had skated since.

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“After 7-10 days, I felt like progress was happening,” Bowness said. “It was slower progress, no doubt, but we didn’t push and gave him some extra time, hoping to try and avoid that. We gave it as much time as possible and there comes a point where, ‘Hey, there’s something a little more than we can find right now.’

Bowness said they expect Ehlers to be back this season.

Ehlers’ expected long delay away from action adds to an already burgeoning roster in the team’s infirmary.

Fellow winger Mason Appleton underwent wrist surgery earlier this week and is expected to miss two to three months while recovering. Striker Morgan Barron is also out after his own wrist surgery which came with a 4-5 week absence.

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“What we’ve been doing lately, oh I don’t know…we’ve tightened up the defense, and that’s going to keep us in games,” Bowness said. “The guys who stepped up and played those roles did an exceptional job. We need it. They are among the first nine, they are not easy to replace. Do we miss them? Absolutely we miss them. It changes all the formations of the lines and it changes the roles. And sometimes when that happens, you put a guy in a role that normally wouldn’t be.

“Give our strikers a lot of credit because all the guys we’ve asked to adjust their roles, their minutes and even the guys they normally play with, they’ve all done a great job. That brings us back to having to play this team defense to keep us in games which we have cleaned up a lot in the last 10 games.

On defense, the Jets are still without Logan Stanely, who is out with a foot injury, and Dylan DeMelo, who will miss his second straight game Saturday with an upper-body injury.

Bowness said they hope DeMelo can return against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

“It’s nothing long term,” Bowness said. “We hope he comes back. He skated (Saturday morning) but not ready to go. We hope he will be back on Monday evening.

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Twitter: @scottbilleck

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