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Saturday, February 22, 2014

USA's Paul Martin suffers hand injury; to be evaluated in Pittsburgh

By on 2/22/2014 06:00:00 PM

The ambiguity surrounding the health status of Team USA's Paul Martin had the defenseman going from a healthy scratch to being laid low with an illness to the latest report of a fractured bone in his hand - but until the physicians for the Pittsburgh Penguins get a chance to evaluate him, any confirmation on the severity of the injury should be considered premature.

The latest report is that Martin has a hand injury, suffered during the quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic, is currently wearing a splint and may eventually need a cast.

"You know, I grew up playing for my country, always wanting to play for my country," Martin said after experiencing the Olympics for the first time during group play last week. "When you miss a couple Olympics and you're older, you appreciate it that much more. In that moment, it was emotional, definitely. I was out there on the ice skating around, just thinking, 'I'm on the ice for my first Olympic game. It's happening.'"

And it ended in a nightmare, for both Martin and Team USA, who lost to Finland in Saturday's Bronze medal match and leaves Sochi having not experienced the podium.

Although this isn't a serious blow to the Penguins' playoff positioning - they are currently running away with the NHL's Metropolitan Division - it is a demoralizing turn of events to Martin, who worked hard to return to the ice in time to play in the Olympic games alongside teammate Brooks Orpik, losing 23 games to a fractured tibia suffered in Boston in late November.

He returned to the lineup on January 22nd against Montreal and played in nine games before heading out to Sochi. In 33 games played this season for Pittsburgh, Martin has recorded two goals and ten helpers and has been a big-time minute muncher, averaging over 25 minutes per game on the ice.

Initial reports had Martin lost for the season, but the Penguins medical team hasn't had a chance to examine him, so speculation as to the severity of the injury, as well as attempting to determine a time frame for a return from the injury is fruitless at this point.


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