Best wishes to RJ

Ville Leino had a good 20-minute skate Friday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Sabres say no surgery planned for Leino’s injured hip

Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Right now, Sabres winger Ville Leino has no plans to undergo surgery on the injured right hip that sidelined him a fourth straight game Friday.

Leino enjoyed a strong 20-minute skate Friday morning inside the First Niagara Center before he began feeling tired and the hip tightened up, he said. Still, that represents progress.

“It feels better,” Leino said prior to the Sabres’ 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. “Today it felt a lot better.”

Surgery, Leino said, could be an option later on. For now, the Finn will continue getting treatment. He had an MRI and looked OK, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said.

“There’s no talk of surgery right now,” Ruff said. “Maybe down the road it happens. I don’t know. But right now there’s some other treatment options that are possible.”

Leino added: “Now there’s no reason to do (surgery). We’re working on it. We got a couple things we’re going to try again. Today was positive. I was able to skate for such a long time and no pain.”

Ruff said another player underwent Leino’s treatments last season and has “been good ever since.”

The hip began bothering Leino during pre-training camp workouts earlier this month at the Northtown Center.

“After the first day it was a little sore, the next day a little more and then it got worse and worse,” Leino said. “Sometimes it’s tough to tell what it is. Hopefully, we’re getting back here.”

Nonetheless, Leino practiced beside Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott until last Friday, when the hip began bothering him too much.

“Once you get something it’s always going to be bothering you,” Leino said. “You deal with the pain.”

Going down two days before opening day wasn’t easy.

“Everyone’s so excited,” Leino said. “Today I had a huge smile on my face skating out there, having fun. I felt really good. I was in good shape when the season started. I was excited to play hockey and I’m still really excited. It’s frustrating. You want to be out there and play with the guys, especially when the season’s starting.”

Leino had surgery on his left hip, something that had bothered him for around 18 months, following Philadelphia’s 2010 run to the Stanley Cup final. That hip feels fine now.

“This doesn’t feel similar,” Leino said. “That’s the funny part. I mean, it’s always different when you have something going on. But it doesn’t feel the same. But, I mean, who knows what it is?”

Leino experienced a rough acclimation to the Sabres in 2011-12, compiling only eight goals and 25 points in the first season of a six-year, $27 million contract.

CSNPhilly.com first reported Leino’s latest injury.

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Can you blame Nathan Gerbe for getting really hot?

Following offseason spine surgery, the Sabres winger endured a long and arduous road back to the ice.

Then, minutes into his season debut Thursday, Carolina’s Drayson Bowman knocked Gerbe into the boards from behind, a scary hit similar to the one that began his troubles.

Gerbe, understandably, was livid during the ensuing scrum. But when he began jawing with Chad LaRose, referee Dan O’Halloran grabbed him and rammed him into the glass.

Why?

“He said he wanted to keep me away,” Gerbe said Friday. “But if we can’t touch them, then why can they grab us? … It’s a Catch-22 there. So I just decided to not touch him and keep my mouth shut. I don’t feel like doing any suspensions or anything like that.”

Gerbe’s troubles began when Philadelphia’s Marc-Andre Bourdon rammed him into the boards from behind on December 7, 2011. Gerbe kept playing, but his condition deteriorated over the ensuing months. He had surgery in July.

The Bowman hit left Gerbe shaking his head.

“I don’t even know what to say about it,” he said. “Obviously, that’s not what you want.”

Notes: With two assists Thursday, winger Thomas Vanek became this first player in Sabres history to record eight points in the first three games of the season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The Sabres scratched forwards Cody McCormick (finger), Matt Ellis (healthy) and defensemen T.J. Brennan and Mike Weber (both healthy).

Related: Sabres’ Gerbe close to returning; Enroth to get first start

Sabres’ Leino questionable for opener; Grigorenko set for debut

Ruff wants Grigorenko’s play to force Sabres to keep him

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