Braun's status for opener in doubt

Braun's status for opener in doubt
January 11, 2013, 11:15 am
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Justin Braun suffered a broken hamate bone in his hand while playing in Finland in December. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SAN JOSE – Sharks defenseman Justin Braun’s status is in serious doubt for the team’s first game on Jan. 20 in Calgary.

Braun suffered broken hamate bone in his hand while playing in Finland in December, and has been wearing a cast and bone stimulator on his left hand/wrist for five weeks. He was told he would need to wear the cast for five-to-seven weeks, so it’s possible he could miss the first week of the regular season.

Braun skated briefly at Sharks Ice on Friday, but stuck to doing mainly sprints and did not stickhandle. He left the ice shortly after the remaining players started practicing.

He played just six games in Finland for Tappara Tempere of the SM-liiga before he was hurt and had to return to North America.

“I’m not really sure what happened. It started nagging me a little bit and I didn’t think anything was broken,” Braun said. “I didn’t lose any strength right away, so I thought it was like a nerve. I was getting treatment for that, and after the sixth game I was in quite a bit of pain. I got an MRI and found out it was broken, so I came home right away.”

As for his chances of playing on opening night, Braun said: “I’m not sure yet. I would love to, but I think a lot of it will be getting strength back in the hand even when the cast is off. We’ll see how that all works out.”

Unable to visit with Sharks doctors due to the lockout, Braun went to the Mayo Clinic, where he was diagnosed.

Prior to going to Finland, Braun, a native of Minneapolis, skated with fellow NHL players in Minnesota.

“It was good to skate there, but you really couldn’t get the game atmosphere. I felt like I needed to go get out of there. It was pretty much Groundhog Day for a while so you just need a change of scenery. It was good to get away, it’s too bad what happened.”

Braun isn’t the only Sharks defenseman whose status is in doubt for the start of the season. Jason Demers has yet to skate after suffering a hairline wrist fracture nearly two weeks ago, while Brent Burns won’t say if he’ll be ready after undergoing sports hernia/groin surgery last May.

Unlike Demers, Burns has been skating with his teammates and appears to be a full participant.