Sakic Breaks Fingers In Snowblower Mishap

Avs Star Surgery Needed On Three Fingers

Colorado Avalanche hockey player Joe Sakic broke three fingers while using a snowblower and will be out for at least three months, the team said Wednesday.

Sakic underwent surgery Tuesday night to repair three broken fingers and tendon damage.

"Joe's surgery was performed by a hand specialist," said Avalanche team doctor Andy Parker. "The procedure went well and he's expected to make a full recovery."

The incident happened at Sakic's house Tuesday afternoon. Team officials said the incident involved a snow blower, but they didn't release any other details.

The Avalanche captain was already sidelined by back problems and will continue to receive treatment for the herniated disc in his back while he recovers from the hand surgery.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, most of the snowblower injuries occur when snowblowers have been clogged with snow, and victims use their hands to dislodge the snow.

It's been an injury-riddled season for the 39-year-old Sakic, who decided to return for a 20th year after almost retiring during the offseason. Sakic had his most trying season last year, missing 38 games after hernia surgery.

The center originally strained his back in the weight room in early November, causing him to miss a game against Minnesota.

He returned two days later before being sidelined for five more games because of his bad back. He hasn't played since hurting it again in his first shift in a game at Phoenix on Nov. 28.

Sakic also missed a game this season with an infected tooth.

Tips To Prevent Snowblower Injuries

Here are tips from the American Society For Plastic Surgery of the Hand.

  • Do not stick hand in chute or near moving parts or intake or output areas of snowblowers or lawnmowers.
  • If there is an object in the way of any part of the machine, the machine should be turned off and spark plug disconnected, or power cord unplugged for electric models, before attempting to remove the object.
  • Objects should then be removed with a tool and not the hand or fingers.
  • Snowblowers should be turned off, spark plug disconnected, and unplugged when they are being moved or picked up.
  • Wear proper hand and footwear -- non-slip, non-open toe shoes.
  • Protective gloves can give some protection, but the force from the machine can still cause extensive damage despite the gloves.
  • Do not rush the job.
  • Do not disable safety mechanisms.
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