After a two-game return, Chucko goes back to the ranks of the injured

Sophomore forward Kris Chucko sprained his ankle Saturday against Denver.

by Chris Lempesis

Friday nightís contest against Denver at Mariucci Arena marked a return to the lineup for Minnesotaís menís hockey forward Kris Chucko.

Chucko had missed the Feb. 10-11 series at Michigan Tech with a separated shoulder suffered Jan. 28 at Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, Saturdayís contest against the Pioneers marked a return to the injured list for the sophomore. But this time, itís a different injury.

Chucko suffered an ankle sprain late in the third period of the Gophersí 5-1 win and will not be accompanying the team to Anchorage, Alaska, this weekend for Minnesotaís series against Alaska-Anchorage.

ìYeah, get to stay home again this weekend,î said Chucko, who has four goals and nine assists (13 points) in 30 games this season. ìItís kind of been a frustrating year that way.î

Both Chucko and coach Don Lucia said Tuesday there is no definite timetable for his return.

ì(The doctors) said itís a tough injury to get over,î Chucko said.

ìItís not really (going to be) anytime in the next couple weeks, Iíve heard.î

The injury occurred when Chucko fell after crossing the Denver blue line, an injury he called a ìfreak accident.î

ìIt didnít hurt when I fell,î Chucko said. ìBut I was trying to get back up, and I just got shoved as I was getting up, and my foot stayed planted, and it just bent wrong.î

But, it just felt like it bent wrong, and it turns out it was wrong.î

Minnesota has two regular-season series left before the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. But even getting back for the first round of the playoffs could be dicey, Chucko said.

ìI want to get back as soon as possible,î he said. ìBut right now, even that (getting back for the start of the playoffs), we donít know. Theyíre just trying to take it day by day, and hopefully it gets better faster than usual.î

As of Tuesdayís practice, two new line combinations had formed because of Chuckoís injury:

> Senior forward Andy Sertich replaced Chucko on the Gino Guyer-Mike Howe line.

> Sophomore forward Tom Pohl replaced Sertich on the Evan Kaufmann-Justin Bostrom line.