Avery out of Rangers lineup again; wrist surgery slated for Thursday

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NEW YORK - New York Rangers forward Sean Avery will undergo surgery Thursday on his left wrist to repair injuries sustained in a fight and when he was struck by a puck.

There was no immediate announcement on how much time Avery will miss. The surgery is scheduled to take place shortly before the Rangers play the New York Islanders at home on Thursday.

"We don't really know at this point," Avery said Wednesday after practice. "Hopefully it's only a week or two. I don't live in a reality world, though. We'll see."

Avery fought Toronto's Darcy Tucker on Nov. 10, a bout first sparked during an altercation with the Maple Leafs forward during pre-game warmups, and then was hit last week by a shot from teammate Brendan Shanahan when the Rangers played at Tampa Bay.

"I'd rather get it taken care of now and get back as quick as I can and help the guys," Avery said.

Avery was bothered by the wrist during last season's playoffs and considered off-season surgery after the Rangers were eliminated by Buffalo in the second round, but decided against it.

"They're going to take a look at everything," he said. "There's a fracture in the hand they're going to clean up a bit."

It is the second time this season the Rangers will be without their top agitator and key catalyst. New York went 17-6-6 last season after he was acquired from Los Angeles in February.

"As much as we don't want him to miss a single game, the best thing we can do for him and our hockey club is to address that and take care of this thing quickly and have him not miss too much," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.

When Avery was sidelined with a separated shoulder earlier this season, the Rangers were 4-5-1. New York is 9-4-1 with him in the lineup.

"You get hurt at the start of the season, work pretty hard to get back, then this happens," Avery said. "I guess it's better than getting hurt in April. That's the only way I can look at it."

New York might get forward Ryan Callahan back on Thursday against the Islanders. The second-year right-winger has missed 16 games since spraining a knee in New York's 1-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.

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