Dany Heatley suffered a serious eye injury during a Swiss League hockey game this weekend.
The Atlanta Thrashers star was hit in the left eye by a shot from his teammate and Buffalo Sabre Daniel Briere while playing for SC Bern during the second period against Geneva-Servette.
The Calgary native, who was wearing a visor at the time, was taken to hospital immediately and was diagnosed with severe swelling and inner bleeding.
Heatley couldn't see from the injured eye when he arrived at the hospital. Doctors drained the eye to relieve the pressure.
SC Bern reported on its website that Heatley suffered a fractured orbital bone below the eye, which will require surgery.
The team also announced that Heatley will remain in hospital for at least a week and may to return the ice in six weeks.
"Because of the operation, Heatley will have to stay in hospital for at least a week," the statement said.
Team doctor Martin Schaer said he was confident Heatley would regain full vision in the eye.
Thrashers general manager Don Waddell echoed that assessment.
"No, because all indications are that everything else is intact," Waddell said. "Until they get in and get the blood cleared and swelling cleared, they don't know, but the first indication is there's no eye damage"
Heatley signed to play with SC Bern last month during the NHL lockout, which shows no signs of being settled. Assuming his rehabilitation goes according to plan, he probably wouldn't miss any playing time with the Thrashers were the lockout to be settled.
"The surgery is, the way I read it and what I've heard, is probably six weeks (to recover)," Waddell said. "So at this point I don't think it would be a factor."
Heatley and Briere were reunited with SC Bern after playing for Canada on the same line at the 2003 and 2004 world championships. Canada won gold in both tournaments.
Heatley faces six charges, including vehicular homicide, stemming from the 2003 crash that killed his friend and teammate Dan Snyder.
He has a court day scheduled for Nov. 29 in Atlanta but may not have to appear in person.
If convicted on all six counts, Heatley could serve a maximum of 20 years in jail and fines totalling $5,000 US.
with files from Canadian Press