Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a laceration to his right wrist Monday night, the team announced in a statement.
In the third period of the Kings’ 4-3 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks, Martinez dove head-first toward a loose puck, stretching his right arm out in traffic around the Kings’ net. The left skate of Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson nicked Martinez’s wrist, causing damage to his radial artery and two superficial radial nerves.
Martinez hurried back to the bench and was rushed by ambulance to Keck Medicine of USC, where he underwent successful surgery to repair the artery and nerves. The team said he would be evaluated weekly.
“We’re real happy that things went well for Alec for last night,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “Now he’s got some time to heal. When he’s ready to play again, we’ll welcome him back.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, McLellan wasn’t sure if Martinez had been discharged from the hospital yet. He did say, however, that Martinez sent a group text to the team before their Tuesday morning practice.
“It’s a scary situation. When you talk about a skate blade to any part of the body, but particularly a real dangerous area. It can zap certain individuals more than others. It can take something out of you, especially if you’ve seen it. The buzz this morning was a lot about Marty and how he was doing.”
Martinez, 32, has five points and a minus-one rating in 24 games this season, primarily playing on the right-hand side of the Kings’ first and second defense pairing. The Kings’ fifth-longest tenured player, having spent all 11 seasons of his NHL career with the club, Martinez has also become a key veteran voice for a team mired in a rebuild.
“He’s been through it all,” fellow defenseman Joakim Ryan said. “He plays a lot of minutes for us. You never want to lose a guy like that. It’s tough to replace. But injuries always create opportunities for other guys. Hopefully, some guys can step up and take on a bigger role.”
The Kings have yet to make any corresponding roster move in the wake of Martinez’s injury. Currently, the club has 21 healthy players and six healthy defensemen on its NHL roster. In the minors, 27-year-old right-handed defenseman Paul LaDue could be a potential recall option. Young left-handers Tobias Bjornfot, Mikey Anderson and Kale Clague seem like alternative possibilities as well.
Veteran NHL defenseman Derek Forbort is also nearing recovery from an offseason back injury that has kept him out of every game this far.
“There’s players that have been waiting for more ice time and more opportunity,” McLellan said. “They will get it. It will give us a chance to evaluate.”