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Bolts lose Gudas to knee surgery

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

<>during the first period of an NHL hockey game at Prudential Center on December 14, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.

Paul Bereswill

Tough news out of Tampa Bay regarding rugged defenseman Radko Gudas, who will undergo knee surgery tomorrow.

From the Tribune:

Gudas will have an arthroscopic procedure performed by team physician Ira Guttentag in Tampa. After the surgery, an exact timeline for Gudas’ return will be established, the team said.

Gudas was injured on Dec. 29 against Toronto when he fell awkwardly into the boards. Gudas skated briefly on Wednesday in Buffalo and took part in practice on Thursday in Pittsburgh, but has not been on the ice since.

The 24-year-old was sent back to Tampa on Sunday and underwent an examination Monday afternoon, when it was determined that surgery was required.

Gudas has missed Tampa’s last three games with the knee ailment, the latest in a year filled with health issues (he’s only dressed for 31 of the Lightning’s 41 games this year.)

When healthy, Gudas plays around 17 minutes a night and provides arguably the biggest physical presence on the Bolts blueline. Despite missing 10 games he leads the team in hits, with 115, which is also fourth-most among all NHL defensemen.