By Bill Hoppe
Sporting stitches from his nose to below his lip, Sabres winger Nathan Gerbe said he “got pretty lucky” when teammate Paul Gaustad tripped up on a faceoff Friday and sliced his face with a skate blade.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” Gerbe said Monday inside the First Niagara Center after returning to practice. “But I guess if you had to pick one spot where I want it to be, this is where I want it to be. Not high, not low.”
Gerbe, who sat Saturday, practiced with a full metal cage, an attachment he hopes to ditch in three or four days when the stitches are removed. He plans to play Wednesday against Philadelphia.
In other injury news, winger Cody McCormick (possible concussion, nine games) was tested Monday and given the go-ahead to return.
Meanwhile, Gaustad, who injured (upper body) in the melee after Ryan Miller was hit Saturday, is out Wednesday. Also, center Jochen Hecht was hurt on the last shift in Nashville and is day-to-day. Defenseman Jordan Leopold (upper body, two games) practiced but will likely sit again.
The Sabres, down eight regulars, may need to make a recall or two.
“It almost becomes humorous,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said about the injuries. “It’s something you don’t take lightly.”