Rangers' Sean Avery Out for Playoffs

New York Rangers forward Sean Avery was taken to the hospital yesterday after he lacerated his spleen during the team's playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins .

Avery, known throughout the NHL as an agitator, was taken to St. Vincent's Medical Center in New York after the 5-3 loss Tuesday night. He was admitted after a CT scan showed his spleen had been lacerated.

The spleen will most likely not need to be removed, and Avery will not need surgery, but he will likely remain hospitalized for a few days for observation, the team's spokesman John Rosasco said.

"He walked into the hospital," Rosasco said. "He was never in a life-threatening situation."

A spokesman for St. Vincent's Medical Center said that Avery was in stable condition Wednesday. It is still unclear how Avery sustained the injury, but he complained of the pain, which steadily got worse throughout Tuesday's game.

The Rangers said the 28-year-old forward will be out for the remainder of the season, but will make a full recovery.

The Rangers trail the Penguins 3-0 in their best-of-seven semifinal series for the Eastern Conference. Despite the injury and the loss, Avery had an assist on the Rangers' second goal in the game.

Avery is known as an agitator in the league, and most recently made headlines for rubbing New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur the wrong way. In the first round of playoffs, Avery set himself in the crease, facing Brodeur, and began to guard Brodeur by waving his arms and intentionally blocking his line of sight.

Since this is not a common activity, and no player has ever been either bullheaded, or stupid enough to guard a goalie in this manner, there were no rules prohibiting Avery's tactic. But, the NHL moved quickly to forbid the activity, and now it would call for a two-minute penalty.

After this season, Avery will be an unrestricted free agent. He was traded to the Rangers from the Los Angeles Kings in February 2007.

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