December 13, 2009
(UPDATE: Good news, as Gerber isn't injured as first thought.)
Troubling news from the Kontinental Hockey League, as former NHL goalie Martin Gerber(notes) suffered a neck injury while playing for Atlant Moscow -- one that's going to keep him hospitalized for months, according to Russian media reports.
From RussianHockeyFans.net, which has been doing some nice coverage lately of the KHL:
According to a Russian site lifesports.ru during the second period a Vityaz forward ran into Gerber. As a result Gerber ended up lying on the ice. After being tested by the team's doctors Gerber was put on a wheel stretcher and taken off the ice. He was sent to a Podolsk municipal hospital where he was diagnosed with a compression fracture of the third cervical vertebra.
According to Sovietsky Sport, the injury was a "fracture of the fourth cervical vertebra," but that was a preliminary diagnosis. Gerber was also motionless for a while before being stretchered off (photo and story from SovSport here). He's due for more evaluation on Monday.
With the Olympics around the corner and Switzerland in the same Group as Canada and the United States, one can't help but recall Gerber's epic 49-save performance against the Canadians. With Jonas Hiller(notes) and David Aebischer(notes) likely in the mix, we're not sure where Gerber placed on the Swiss depth chart; but the severity of this injury would appear to end any chance of Gerber representing his nation again, if he was ever in the mix.
Hopefully he can rehab and earn another sweetheart contract from the KHL, like the tax-free/rent-free deal he reportedly had with Atlant.