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Hunwick out indefinitely after removal of spleen

Bruins defenseman Matt Hunwick is out indefinitely after Saturday afternoon surgery at Mass General Hospital to remove a ruptured spleen. According to Bruins team doctor Peter Asnis, the injury probably happened on a second period bodycheck into the boards during Game 1 of the playoff series between the Canadiens and the B’s.

Asnis said it was “possible” that Hunwick could return at a later point in the playoffs, but the recuperation time for a normal person after a splenectomy is four to six weeks. It’s unclear how long it might take to heal enough for Hunwick to play hockey again. The rookie blueliner, in all likelihood, won’t be back this season unless the Bruins advance to the Conference or Stanley Cup [1] Finals — and even then it’s doubtful Hunwick would be ready for playoff-intensity hockey after such a long layoff.

“He should be able to play hockey again and have a 100 percent full recovery,” said Asnis, who added that the injury was found on Friday and he had already been ruled out of Saturday’s game prior to the spleen rupture. “Full recovery should be in several months, a month to two, and we’ll see how he does.”

 Shane Hnidy will replace Hunwick in Saturday night’s Bruins lineup.

Bruins coach Claude Julien [2] prefers to have some depth at both the defenseman and forward positions during the playoffs, so expect another shoe to drop at the D-man spot in the coming days. Andrew Ference [3] is on the mend from an undisclosed injury and would be the perfect replacement for Hunwick given his puck-moving skill-set and ability to man the point on the power play.

A call to Providence could also be possible, but it may not be the player that many would assume in Johnny Boychuk [4]. Jeff Penner is more in the mold of the quick-skating, puck-moving D-man needed in Hunwick’s absence, and Penner is also a left-handed shot like the fallen Hunwick. All the Baby B’s could be immaterial, however, if Ference is ready to play in the next few days.

“We have options that we’re considering,” said B’s GM Peter Chiarelli. “Whether we execute them or not, we’ll see as the days unfold.”