Prized rookieJohnson has fractured foot

Friday, October 12, 2007

ST. LOUIS -- A hairline fracture in his right foot forced St. Louis Blues rookie defenseman Erik Johnson out of the home opener. But the first overall pick of the 2006 draft had to be talked out of the lineup.

The Blues don't expect to be without Johnson for long judging from that enthusiasm. It'll hinge on pain tolerance and whether he'll be able to jam his foot into the skate.

"He wanted to play, which is a testament to his fortitude," coach Andy Murray said after the Blues' 4-1 victory over Nashville Wednesday night. "We had to say 'You're not playing.'

"We had to make sure we took care of our asset."

Johnson, 19, was listed as day to day because the fracture is so minor it's expected that it will heal quickly. Murray also said the skate boot should protect the injury.

"Once he can handle the pain and get his foot in the boot, he can play," Murray said. "That boot is so strong and tight that quite often there's enough support."

Johnson is one of three top defenseman out for the Blues. Eric Brewer is out two to three weeks with a shoulder injury and Jay McKee could miss another month or so with a broken foot.

-- AP

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