Hatcher Out 4-6 Months With Torn ACL

Tough defenseman Derian Hatcher tore his right ACL in Thursday night's game against the Canucks and is expected to be sidelined for 4 to 6 months, according to team personnel.

Hatcher left the game early in the first period after being tangled up with Vancouver's Bryan Allen and Markus Naslund. The injury was originally called a sprained knee, but an MRI done Friday morning revealed the tear in Hatcher's ACL.

The ACL, or anterior crucial ligament, is a ligament which connects the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shinbone) underneath the patella (kneecap). ACL injuries are most commonly caused by hyperextending, twisting, or bending the knee joint sideways. This is the same type of injury which kept Jiri Fischer sidelined for most of last season.

Hatcher, a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan, had missed only four games in his previous three seasons combined. The former Dallas Star's last serious injury was a lacerated calf muscle which kept him out 24 games during the 1999-2000 season.

The Wings will attempt to fill the new hole at the blue line. Jason Woolley, acquired after Fischer's injury last year, will make his way back into the lineup, and talented rookie Niklas Kronvall will be on hand to provide depth.

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