Injured Rock forward Blaine Manning
Toronto Rock forward Blaine Manning has undergone successful surgery to repair a broken collarbone, and is expected back in the lineup in six to eight weeks.
Manning, who was injured Jan. 14 in a loss to the Buffalo Bandits, is on the injured reserve list for the first time in his 11-year NLL career, ending a streak of playing in 177 straight games including the playoffs.
Manning said he knew right away that the injury was severe.
“When I was 9 or 10 I broke my collarbone playing hockey. I had a pretty good idea it was the collarbone and it wasn’t good,” he said.
Looking for their first win in three games this season, the 2011 NLL champions will play their first game without Manning on Friday night, when they welcome the Rochester Knighthawks to the Air Canada Centre.
“I’ve been fortunate to play as long as I have without having to watch a game. I figure everyone’s due at some point,” said Manning, who needs six goals for 300 in his career. “I’m excited to watch the guys play and it’s a game we need to win.”
Trying to fill the void in Manning’s absence will be forwards Jamie Rooney and Brenden Thenhaus. Manning said they’re both up to the task.
“They’re both great players,” he said. “They’re going to fit in nicely. They’re both veterans of the league and have been around for a long time. I don’t think it’s going to be anything that they haven’t already experienced in the league and it’s just a matter of going in there and doing their thing.”
Fans on Friday will hear a familiar voice as Bruce Barker returns to handle duties as public address announcer.
Barker served in that role through three of Toronto’s six NLL championships and was behind the microphone when the Rock played the last professional sporting event at Maple Leaf Gardens in 2000.
In that historic NLL championship game, Kaleb Toth scored the winning goal for Toronto with just one second left to beat the Knighthawks and lift the Rock to their second Champion’s Cup.
“I am proud to once again be part of the Toronto Rock and the lacrosse community in Ontario,” Barker said. “The fans are the best in the world and when I ask them to ‘Make some noise for the boys’ they do and that makes every game special. I am 100 percent ready to rock Air Canada Centre.”