Buffalo Sabres forward Vladimir Sobotka will remain out indefinitely after he underwent surgery on his right knee, the team announced Wednesday.
The 32-year-old was originally said to be shelved between four to six weeks after he was injured on Nov. 8, but Buffalo said in a statement surgery was determined as "the appropriate next step" in Sobotka's recovery.
The Sabres have announced the following update regarding forward Vladimir Sobotka. pic.twitter.com/YnesadOaiR
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) November 27, 2019
Sobotka's injury came as he followed through on a shot in the offensive zone without the puck when Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov delivered a low-bridge hit, sending Sobotka over his back and onto the ice. Sobotka remained down while trainers came to tend to his injuries and help him to the locker room.
Nikita Kucherov goes low on Vladimir Sobotka pic.twitter.com/oZxJIgt81r
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) November 8, 2019
Buffalo later announced that Sobotka would not finish the remainder of the contest.
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Kucherov did not receive a penalty on the play, nor did he receive further discipline from the NHL Department of Player Safety.
Rule 44 of the NHL's official rulebook defines an illegal "low hit" as "a check that is delivered by a player who may or may not have both skates on the ice, with his sole intent to check the opponent in the area of his knees." The rulebook states that a player may not "lower his body position" to check an opponent's knees.
In 15 games with the Sabres so far this season, Sobotka has registered one goal and three points. He has also won 55.22 percent of his faceoffs, which ranks first on the team among skaters who have taken at least 20 faceoffs.
Buffalo recalled Curtis Lazar from its AHL-affiliate Rochester Americans to fill in for Sobotka. He scored in his team debut on Thursday in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.