Wisconsin senior center Derek Lee was knocked out of Saturday's contest vs Alaska-Anchorage after a hit to the head courtesy of UAA defenseman Austin Sevalrud. Since that time, many Badger fans have been on pins and needles awaiting the fate of one of the most offensively gifted talents on Wisconsin's roster.
While meeting with the media for his weekly press conference on Monday, Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves noted he was hopeful for Derek Lee's availability this weekend after talking with trainer Andy Hrodey.
"He passed his cognitive test. That's step one," Eaves said. "He still has some residual headaches, so those have to dissipate before he can get on the bike."
"At this point, we're hopeful. The fact that he passed the cognitive was a good step. He won't go on the ice today, and tomorrow we'll come back and see where he's at."
Eaves said he has spoken with the WCHA about the hit on his senior alternate captain.
"We spoke with (WCHA director of officials) Mr. Shepherd this morning, and we talked about it," Eaves noted. "I sent him some clips from our camera angles, and he was going to take a look at them and get back to me and give me his viewpoint."
Through 22 games this season, Lee has been Wisconsin's most effective playmaker with a team-leading 16 assists. Lee's 19 points rank him second on the club behind junior winger Michael Mersch. Lee also leads the Badgers in the plus/minus category at +12.
Lee battled through two serious injuries last season that limited his output to 11 points in just 17 games played. The North Vancouver, B.C., native missed 11 games after he suffered a laceration to his hand in a game vs Nebraska-Omaha on Oct. 10th. Later in the season, a concussion suffered vs North Dakota sidelined Lee for an additional nine contests.
Wisconsin is 10-1-3 in its past 14 contests and is currently tied for fourth place in the WCHA with North Dakota and Minnesota State at 21 points. The Badgers will travel to Grand Forks this weekend for a big match up with UND, and Eaves is hoping he's got one of his top forwards for a key league series.
"We're sure hoping this little injury isn't very long, because we need him in the lineup."
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