Joe Sakic to have hernia surgery; will miss eight to 12 weeks

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DENVER - Colorado Avalanche captain Joe Sakic will undergo hernia surgery Friday and will miss eight to 12 weeks.

Sakic has already missed 12 games and been out since Nov. 30. The organization said a lack of progress in rehab has made surgery necessary. "Joe's rehabilitation has not progressed as anticipated and upon further evaluation the decision has been made to perform surgery in order for him to fully recover," Avalanche team physician Andy Parker said in a release Thursday.

Sakic, in his 19th NHL season, has been Colorado's leading scorer the past three seasons, including a 100-point campaign last year. It was the sixth time he reached the 100-point mark in his career.

"(It's) a huge loss for us," said Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville. "Obviously, a player of his abilities and what he brings to the organization and the team on a game-by-game basis is irreplaceable. I think in his absence over that last stretch we've done a good job. But I don't think we should feel like it's going to get any easier going forward or anybody's going to feel sorry for us without Joe in the lineup."

The Avalanche are 7-4-1 since Sakic was injured.

"It's been hard to keep the ship afloat since he has been gone, but we have some guys who are getting some opportunities and taking advantage of it," Avalanche forward Andrew Brunette said. "We just have to keep playing well. We can't wait to get him back."

Sakic, who has seven goals and 15 assists in 24 games this season, had played in 232 consecutive games dating back to January 2004. He is earning US$6.75 million on a one-year contract and plans to be back this season.

"After with the doctors we believe this procedure will enable me to return to the lineup," Sakic said in a statement.

He ranks eighth all-time in points with 1,611, 11th in assists with 994 and 14th in goals with 617.

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