If Sweden is to medal in men's ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, it might have to do so without its captain.
Updates from Saturday, Feb 22
Larry Lage of the Associated Press has more bad news regarding Zetterberg:
#RedWings GM Ken Holland doesn't expect Henrik Zetterberg to play again during the regular season because of his back ailment.— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) February 22, 2014
Holland says if #RedWings extend postseason to 23, he hopes Zetterberg can return to play— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) February 22, 2014
Holland also said he's told Zetterberg's back problem should not threaten to end his career prematurely @georgemalik— Larry Lage (@LarryLage) February 22, 2014
Updates from Friday, Feb. 21
The Red Wings' official Twitter feed has the latest update on Zetterberg, and the news isn't good
BREAKING: Henrik Zetterberg has undergone successful back surgery. The team will re-evaluate his status in 8 weeks.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) February 21, 2014
Updates from Sunday, Feb. 16
General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press that Zetterberg, who has had to pull out of the Sochi Games because of devastating back pain, "is hoping to fly home Tuesday."
"He wants to get home, go see a doctor, figure out what's next," Holland said.
Updates From Friday, Feb. 14
Zetterberg is officially out for the remainder of the Olympics, according to the Games' official site:
The Swedish national team loses its captain Henrik Zetterberg due to an old back injury. He will leave the tournament after having played one game.
Henrik Lundqvist, Sweden's goalie, talked about the impact losing Zetterberg would have, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet:
Henrik Lundqvist says that replacing Henrik Zetterberg at these Olympics will be "impossible" for Sweden.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 14, 2014
Detroit Free Press reporter Helene St. James has the latest on Zetterberg's status:
"I just feel my energy went down when I heard the news," Swedish and Wings teammate Daniel Alfredsson said. "He's our leader, our captain and one of our best players. To replace him is going to be impossible."
Zetterberg could not be reached for comment, but he told Sweden's Aftonbladet that "it's the same problems as before, with my back. Only 20 times worse. I just can't play anymore here; it's impossible.
"I can hardly move, the pain is incredible. It's really sickening. I've been looking forward to this tournament for years and to have to leave it, I'm so frustrated."
According to NHL.com, Henrik Zetterberg is day-to-day with a back injury:
Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg did not take part in practice Thursday and missed the team picture due to a herniated disk.
Zetterberg is day-to-day and could still play against Switzerland on Friday (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN), according to Sweden team doctor Bjorn Waldeback.
"We will [make the] decision [Friday] and see how he feels and how he adjusts to anti-inflammatory treatment and rest," Waldeback said.
Sweden's star winger reportedly is out for the rest of the tournament, per Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press:
However, those reports have not been confirmed.
The 33-year-old has been dealing with back problems throughout his entire career, so it's no surprise that the issue has cropped up in the Games.
Sweden's team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said earlier on Thursday that Zetterberg "has a problem with a disk hernia," per Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press.
“We have been familiar with it for some months. He has treatment in the U.S., but he started here without any symptoms, and I think now the symptoms that he has is according to the disk problem,” Waldeback said.
Sweden has one of the strongest teams in the Olympics, but losing a player of Zetterberg's quality is a crushing blow.
Zetterberg himself also has to be gutted, as well, because at his age, there's no telling whether he'll be able to earn a spot on the national team in four years' time. This could be his last chance to lead Sweden to glory.
With the competition still in the preliminary round, there's still time for him to recover just enough to get back on the ice.
As for the Red Wings, they will certainly hope he is healthy for his return from the Olympics break to close out the NHL season. The postseason isn't a sure thing, and the Olympic break looked like a good time to regroup and get things on track.
Now the team has watched one of its most influential players suffer an injury ahead of the most critical stretch of the season.