Jets forward Vladislav Namestnikov suffers a fractured cheekbone after a puck hit him in the face


Winnipeg forward Vladislav Namestnikov suffered a fractured cheekbone when a puck hit him on the left side of his face in Game 4 against Colorado, the team said Monday.

Jets coach Rick Bowness said that Namestnikov stayed overnight in Denver and was returning to Winnipeg on Monday. Bowness added there was no orbital damage to Namestnikov’s eye. His availability for Game 5 on Tuesday was uncertain.

“I sent him a text last night and he answered this morning and said he’s feeling better,” said Bowness, whose team lost 5-1 on Sunday and trails the Avalanche 3-1 in the first-round series. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Bowness wasn’t ruling out Namestnikov possibly wearing a helmet with a protective cage.

“Listen, nothing would surprise me with Vladdy,” Bowness said. “Again, he’s a tough kid. That’s why we keep picking him up. He does a lot of good things. He’s a great teammate. His versatility helps, but it’s just toughness, mental toughness. I’ll never rule anything out.”

Namestnikov was trying to jump out of the way of a shot from teammate Nate Schmidt when the puck hit a stick and struck him. Namestnikov stayed down on the ice as trainers rushed out. He skated off with help and exited through the Avalanche bench in the third period. The 31-year-old Namestnikov had a towel pressed to his face.

“It’s scary,” Winnipeg teammate Mark Scheifele said. “You never want to see that much blood, no matter what, no matter who it is. Especially a guy on our squad. That sucks. All you can do is hope and pray that he’s OK. That’s a scary one. Just got to pray for him.”

Also Sunday, Nashville captain Roman Josi and Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers each took pucks to the face in the first period of Game 4 of their first-round series.

Josi was struck near his right ear and skated only 4:53 of the first period. Nashville center Tommy Novak’s shot at the right circle hit Myers near his nose with 1:35 left. Myers dropped to the ice, and a trainer rushed out to put a towel to his face before going with him to the bench. Both players returned early in the second period.

For the Jets, it was the second scary situation against the Avalanche.

In Friday’s game, Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon suffered a deep cut on his hand that required stitches. Dillon was apparently cut by a skate blade during a scrum after the final horn. He skated toward the locker room holding his bleeding hand.

Dillon was ruled out Sunday and is considered day-to-day.

“We’re not going to put him in harm’s way, let’s put it that way,” Bowness said of Dillon’s possible availability for Game 5. “He’d play with two broken hands if he could, if we let him. We’ll make the right decision based on what’s best for him. We’re not going put him out there unless we’re 100% sure there can be no more damage done.”

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