Red Wings announce Anthony Mantha out with fractured tibia

DETROIT — Red Wings fans holding out hope that Anthony Mantha could make the team out of training camp and the preseason had those hopes dashed Thursday.

Mantha fractured his right tibia in the first period of Monday’s 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Traverse City and will be out 6-8 weeks.

"The puck was in the corner and I turned to my right at center ice," Mantha said. "I hit a crack at center ice and my foot came back and to the left. At the same time, me and guy from the other team bumped into each other so my knee probably went sideways. It happened so fast you can’t exactly know what happened."

The amazing thing is Mantha finished the game.

"I thought it wasn’t much so I continued playing," Mantha said. "I finished that game. The next day, it was pretty fine. It was sore. We thought it wasn’t much. Went for the MRI last night and we got the answer this morning."

Wings general manager Ken Holland was with Mantha when they got the MRI results Thursday morning.

"They showed us the fracture on the pictures," Holland said. "He’s going to be in crutches for a while, take the weight off. We think somewhere around six weeks he should be back up and running and skating and from then playing, so he’s basically out 6-8 weeks. In the meantime we got lots of other people looking for opportunity.”

Unfortunately, giving other players an opportunity is something the Wings have had to do frequently the last few seasons.

Trying to prevent some of those injuries is something the Wings have discussed and are continuing to look at.

"The only injuries we talk about are the soft tissue injuries," Holland said. "Fractured tibias there’s nothing you can do to prevent them and there’s nothing you can do to hurry the healing process. Certainly I think we all get frustrated, the players, our training staff, our coaches, management when you have people down, or too many people down during the middle of the year due to soft tissue injuries."

Groin injuries and hip flexors are among the soft tissue injuries the Wings would like to reduce.

"Certainly in the month of September and into early October you expect hip flexors, you expect tender groins," Holland said. "I guess I’m talking more when you get past the middle of October and into November, last year we seemed to have too many people down with soft tissue (injuries). 

"A large part of our injuries last year…when you have people down with concussions or you have people down with back surgeries and things like that there’s nothing you can do."

As for Mantha, naturally there’s disappointment at missing the opportunity to make the Wings.

"Obviously, I did all my training from this summer and everything I put in for maybe 5-6 weeks," Mantha said. "It’s pretty hard but if everything goes well and I come back to my capabilities, if I do the right thing, they’re probably going to give me my chances anyways."

Mantha does not know what his rehabilitation regiment will look like yet.

"I can still work out my upper body and my left leg a little bit," Mantha said. "We could do a few things. I’ll try to keep my game shape for when I’ll be ready to come back."

There’s disappointment for the Wings as well.

"Obviously, it’s bad luck, it’s a bad loss," Holland said. "We were looking forward to seeing him in training camp and giving him an opportunity to compete for a spot on our team, but games go on and we have to find a way. We have to find solutions."