The 2012 NHL draft injury bug has been a repeat offender for Zemgus Girgensons, this time claiming the USHL’s top prospect for the season.
The Fighting Saints announced yesterday that Girgensons, who is 16th overall in Future Considerations’ April rankings, suffered a fractured jaw that will keep him out for the remainder of the Clark Cup playoffs. Girgensons will have his jaw wired shut for a minimum of four weeks.
“Can’t open my mouth but feeling good. It’s not the pain in the jaw hurting, it’s the pain in heart that hurts the most knowing I can’t play and help my team,” Girgensons said in a tweet.
The injury occurred Tuesday in the first shift of game two against Team USA when Girgensons was hit awkwardly by John Hayden.
The Latvian product would miss a few shifts on the first line as he went back to the Fighting Saints locker room. Later in the first, Girgensons would return donning a full cage. Upon returning, Girgensons notched an assist on the team’s third goal in the first period. Midway through the second, Girgensons would exit the game for good.
The fractured jaw is the third injury this season for Girgensons and the second time he has missed games in two months.
Girgensons would miss four games due to an ankle sprain after being pushed into his own goaltender on Feb. 24. Shortly after returning from the World Junior Championship, Girgensons missed two games plus the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game due to a hip injury.
The injury is a substantial blow to Dubuque’s quest to repeat as Clark Cup champions as the team has struggled without their leading goal scorer in the lineup. In the 11 games he missed due to injury and the World Junior Championship, the team won just four times.
Girgensons ends his final season of junior hockey with 26 goals and 33 assists in 51 games.