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Wild forward James Sheppard to miss 3-4 months after ATV accident

Nolan Baumgartner, James Sheppard

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nolan Baumgartner (44) is checked by Minnesota Wild center James Sheppard (51) during the first period in an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)


James Sheppard’s make it or break it year with the Minnesota Wild may have just been decided for him before it even started. Michael Russo of The Star Tribune breaks news that Sheppard will miss the next 3-4 months after being injured in an ATV accident.

Wild center James Sheppard was in an ATV accident yesterday while training in Vail, Colo., and sustained a serious knee injury. Richards called it an injury to his kneecap. He’s already had surgery and will miss up to four months.

This was to be an integral season for the maligned Sheppard. The fourth-year center was already on the bubble to make the team with last month’s signing of veteran John Madden and the emergence of youngsters Casey Wellman and Cody Almond.

Sheppard was signed this off-season to a one-year deal and after multiple underwhelming seasons with the Wild, this was being viewed as his last chance to make something of his career. Sheppard was the Wild’s first round pick (9th overall) in the 2006 draft. In his three seasons in Minnesota, he’s scored a total of 11 goals in 224 games. It might be viewed as being polite to call Sheppard a full-blown bust. As for how the Wild will cope without him, they should be just fine thanks to having John Madden around now as well as Pierre-Marc Bouchard
back on the ice as well.

Players getting injured in bizarre recreational vehicle accidents isn’t anything new, unfortunately, as Blues defenseman Erik Johnson was injured two seasons ago while goofing around in a golf cart.