Another Lightning player is facing a summer of rehabilitation after recently acquired veteran center Jeff Halpern suffered a knee injury Tuesday while representing the United States at the World Hockey Championships in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Halpern, who was serving as team captain under Lightning head coach John Tortorella, injured his right knee during the third period of a 5-4 loss to host Canada. Halpern has already been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament and flew to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to see Dr. Benjamin Shaffer, the Washington Capitals team physician who previously operated on Halpern's left knee in 2002. Halpern suffered a torn ACL of the left knee when he played for the Capitals.
While the team isn't confirming any type of extent of damage to the knee, they acknowledged in a news release that surgery will likely be required on his right knee. Halpern was to undergo an exam and MRI while in Washington and the team hopes to know the results of the tests either late Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
The 32-year-old native of Potomac, Maryland, joins center Vinny Lecavalier and defenseman Paul Ranger on the list of Tampa Bay players who will be undergoing major rehab this summer in order to be ready for the opening of training camp in September. Lecavalier and Ranger both underwent shoulder surgery in April to repair torn labrums which will require 12-15 weeks to return to normal activities.
Acquired from the Dallas Stars on Feb. 26 along with goaltender Mike Smith and forward Jussi Jokinen, Halpern had 10 goals and 18 points in 19 games played with Tampa Bay. Heading into next season, Halpern is expected to anchor a third-line center role while taking on some leadership responsibilities in the locker room.
Since the games are not being shown in the United States, highlights of the game from Canadian media outlets did not show how the injury occurred.
Halpern had 20 goals and 22 assists last season, including 10 goals and eight assists for Tampa Bay after the trade from Dallas.