BUFFALO, N.Y. --- Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik lost five units of blood, but doctors never considered his life in jeopardy after the player had his carotid artery nearly severed by a teammate's skate in a freak and frightening accident Sunday.
Zednik underwent an hour of surgery to reconnect the artery that night and was listed in stable condition in the intensive care unit at Buffalo General Hospital on Monday. He was awake and cooperative with the medical staff, doctors said.
Surgeon Sonya Noor said there were no initial signs of brain damage, which is a fear whenever the coratid artery is clamped. She said clamps were in place for about 15 to 20 minutes during surgery, a short time in her opinion.
"So far, he looks very good. He's awake, oriented," said Noor. "He remembers what happened last night."
Zednik was sliced across the throat by teammate Olli Jokinen's skate midway through the third period of Buffalo's 5-3 victory.
According to Noor, the slashed artery was "hanging by a thread." She stressed if the artery had been completely severed, it would have recessed into the neck, requiring even more extensive surgery.
Prior to surgery, doctors noted that Zednik's blood pressure was dropping, and there was also swelling around the cut, making it difficult to breath.
Doctors were astonished the skate blade did not hit any other arteries or veins or cause any further damage.
"He might have some hoarseness, and that's about it at this point," Noor said.