Despite playing in the opening game against the Czech Republic (where he scored a goal), Henrik Zetterberg has decided to end his stint with Team Sweden at the 2014 Sochi Olympics early. The Swedish captain announced earlier today that he will be unable to compete due to a herniated disk in his back. Anyone who has ever experienced back pain, especially a herniated disk, can attest to the level of pain Zetterberg must be in. It comes as no surprise that playing in the Olympics is not in the best interest of his long term health at this time.
What he’s going through right now, it hurts just to watch him,” Olympic and Detroit Red Wings teammate Niklas Kronwall said after a 1-0 win Friday over Switzerland. “He goes through more than most people just to be able to play.
-Courtesy of ABC News
Zetterberg played through the injury on Wednesday, and according to Sweden head coach Par Marts, did not appear to be in any discomfort following the came. However, Zetterberg was unable to practice or even show up for the Sweden team photo on Thursday. Zetterberg received treatment and then consulted with NHL doctors in Sochi. They recommended that it was in the best interests of Team Sweden, the Detroit Red Wings, and Zetterberg himself, that he return home for the injury to be properly evaluated. It is not yet currently known how much time Zetterberg will miss once NHL play resumes, but if surgery is needed, it could be a significant amount.
The loss of Zetterberg is potentially crippling for Team Sweden, as they are already without Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen. Niklas Kronwall will replace Zetterberg as captain of Sweden. Despite today’s unfortunate news, Sweden managed to defeat Switzerland 1-0 on a Daniel Alfredsson goal in a defensive battle.