Roberto Luongo's Return to Vancouver Delayed

Joel LefevreAnalyst IDecember 12, 2008

The injury to the Canucks' all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo may have taken a turn for the worst at Friday's practice.  The Vancouver captain left practice after 20 minutes with apparent soreness, and did not travel with the team for their match-up against the Oilers tomorrow night. 

It was reported earlier this week that Luongo may be ready to go for Saturday's pivotal match-up against the Oilers, however after today's cruel twist the injury may be much more serious than originally thought. 

Head coach Alain Vigneault told TSN that Luongo will not be back on the ice again until the injury is fully healed.

"For some time, Roberto has been feeling some soreness when he was doing some dynamic excursuses on the ice," head coach Alain Vigneault said.

"When it was in a controlled environment he was fine, but when he was more dynamic, the soreness was there. Until that soreness completely goes away, he's going to be off the ice." 

This new development could be devastating to Luongo who could according to some reports be out long term now.  The injury comes at a terrible time for Vancouver who have six of their remaining nine games this month against Western conference opponents. 

This now means that for the time being, Sanford and Schneider continue to split goaltending duties until Luongo is back healthy.  This news could also potentially be devastating to Mike Gillis in hopes of landing free agent Mats Sundin who has short listed Vancouver as one of his potential teams. 

Since Luongo's injury, the Canucks have gone 4-4-1 and a four point cushion atop the Northwest division.  Curtis Sanford will start Saturday night at Rexall Place against the Oilers.