If the Hurricanes are to play an NHL season in 2012-13, they will do so without the services of one of their key top-six forwards. Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford announced this afternoon that Tuomo Ruutu recently underwent hip surgery and will be out for the foreseeable future.
Craig Custance of ESPN was the first to break the news of Ruutu's surgery with this tweet, which was followed quickly by a report from Chip Alexander of the News and Observer, who spoke with Jim Rutherford for the Canes Now blog.
According to Rutherford, Ruutu passed a post-season physical, and there was no indication of how the injury occurred. He is expected to be out until at least April.
Ruutu's very physical style of play often draws concerns about his injury potential, and he was sidelined several times with various injuries when his NHL career began in 2003 with the Chicago Blackhawks. Since being acquired by the Hurricanes in February 2008, he has played in more than 70 games each season except in 2009-10, when his season was cut short by a separated shoulder that eventually required surgery. He played in all 82 games in 2010-11 but missed ten games last season with a bruised sternum.
Ruutu had returned to Raleigh and was skating at Raleigh Center Ice in September prior to the lockout, but has not been skating there with the other Hurricanes players since the lockout began.