Lynx forward Louis Dumont underwent successful surgery on his injured right thumb Saturday morning, and he could return to the lineup in as few as four weeks.
Dumont suffered a dislocated and fractured thumb after he slammed into the boards during the second period of Friday's 7-2 loss to the Trenton Titans.
The 27-year-old right winger was taken to Medical College of Georgia, where doctors determined the fracture could not be set properly without the surgical insertion of a plate and seven screws.
"They said four weeks, perhaps less, so that's the good news," Lynx general manager Paul Gamsby said. "At the time, we thought he was coming back (into the game), so we didn't think we were going to lose him. It's hard to plan for something like that."
The loss of Dumont is the latest in a string of injuries that have crippled the team this season. Already, the Lynx have endured 31 man-games lost to injury and eight more to suspensions.
Center Lars Pettersen, who joined forces with Dumont and left winger Dean Tiltgen last season on the Alberta Connection line, just returned to the lineup last week after missing 11 games with a separated shoulder.
His loss also forced the Lynx to activate center Andrei Chouroupov a few days earlier than planned. Chouroupov, who has been out since Nov. 8 with a strained knee ligament, was activated from 14-day injured reserve Saturday and was in the lineup vs. Greenville. The initial plan was to sit the 22-year-old Russian this weekend to allow him a few extra days to heal, but he was activated after getting the OK from the team's medical staff.
"Everything went very well with the surgery," Gamsby said. "Now you've just got the healing process. They'll wait a few days then put a cast on it so he can go out and skate and keep his legs and his aerobic fitness."
Dumont is second on the Lynx in scoring with seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points and leads the club with a plus-7 rating.
Needless to say, Lynx coach Scott MacPherson wasn't in the best of moods after Friday's debacle.
After the players showered and dressed, MacPherson held a 30-minute closed-door session with the team, during which he replayed video of Trenton's seven goals. Upon emerging from the dressing room, the embattled first-year coach refused to talk to The Augusta Chronicle about the game.
How bad do the Lynx want goalie Judd Lambert to return?
Although the Lynx and Lambert have not yet talked about a contract for the rest of the season, Gamsby said he asked the 26-year-old goalie to return to Augusta and continue rehab on his injured right ankle with Lynx trainer Brian Patafie.
"Regardless of what happens to him, whether or not he gets an opportunity to sign with another team at a higher level, we want him to rehab here, and he's agreed to do that," Gamsby said. "If he told me he was going somewhere else to play on January 5, we'd still rehab him. His wife lives here, so why wouldn't we help him out of courtesy and respect for what he did for our organization last year."
Lambert was released by the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League on Wednesday despite going 6-2-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average in 10 games. He was on a 25-game professional tryout agreement with the P-Bruins but was squeezed out of the mix once goalies Andrew Raycroft and Kay Whitmore were returned by the NHL's Boston Bruins.
Gamsby said Lambert is expected to arrive Monday and that he will sit down with the veteran netminder Wednesday to discuss the possibilities.
"I talked to Judd (on Friday), and I know his agent is shopping him, but I have not talked to his agent, (MacPherson) has," Gamsby said. "He played well in Providence, so we're surprised to be seeing him at all. If he wasn't injured, we probably wouldn't be talking about this right now."
Despite several team sources who said the Lynx are trying to swing a deal to reacquire Chris Thompson, Gamsby denied talking to the 22-year-old forward, who left the Greensboro Generals on Thursday and reportedly has retired.
"I know some players have talked to him, but I have not," Gamsby said. "I've been told he has no interest in coming to play here. He's retired, and he's suspended, so even if there was interest, he couldn't come back."
Gamsby referred to an ECHL rule prohibiting a team from re-acquiring a player from the team to which it traded that player in the same season.
Translation: the only way the Lynx could get Thompson back is if the Generals trade his rights to another team. Then the Lynx would be free to try to acquire his rights from that club.
According to several Lynx players, though, Thompson has no intentions of returning to Augusta because he still harbors hard feelings for MacPherson, who pulled the trigger on the controversial deal that sent him to Greensboro along with rookie goalie J.R. Prestifilippo for goalie Erasmo Saltarelli.
Saturday afternoon was proof of how far hockey in Augusta has come in a very short time.
Four teams from the IceForum youth hockey league faced off with teams from Greenville, S.C., at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, with Augusta going undefeated (4-0-1) in five games.
Reach Rob Mueller at (706) 823-3425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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