Michael Russo is reporting that Wild center James Sheppard could miss three to four months of the season after injuring his knee in an ATV accident. On his Twitter account, Russo reports:
Sheppard was in Vail trainings, Richards said. This was a huge season in Sheppard's career and standing with the organization.
Russo is understating that just a bit. This camp was it for Sheppard, and he was already in dire straights when it came to making the roster. Signings of John Madden and Matt Cullen pushed Sheppard off of the depth chart at center, and with hungry player in Houston, Sheppard had only the hope of making the team at wing.
Further updates from Russo include:
#mnwild are currently investigating all details of Sheppard's accident before determining course of action roster/contract wise
Sheppard's injury and surgery actually occurred Saturday, not yesterday. #mnwild could hold right to suspend Sheppard
Fletcher still digesting everything w Sheppard, but as of now, he doesn't see signing anybody; Satisfied w center depth. More on blog soon
The spector of suspending Sheppard is ominous, as that would certainly indicate a strong distaste for allowing Sheppard back on the roster once he was medically cleared. After an injury like this, and a suspension, the question of how many NHL teams would have any interest would also be raised.
More on this as it happens.