Erie Otters winger Nick Betz had a 103-degree temperature Wednesday night. So club officials initially thought he had the flu.
However, his condition was much worse. Betz underwent emergency surgery Friday night for a ruptured appendix, Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, confirmed before Saturday night’s game against the Sarnia Sting at Erie Insurance Arena. Betz will miss a minimum of six to eight weeks, Bassin said, because the surgeons “had to cut him open.”
The absence of Betz leaves a sizeable hole in the Otters’ lineup. Betz, a 6-foot 5-inch, 210-pounder from Clinton Township, Mich., had been playing alongside Jake Evans and Stephen Harper on the No. 2 line this season. Second-year winger Travis Wood, a converted defenseman, has moved up on the second line after starting the season on the fourth line. The Otters already are without frontline center Dane Fox, who hasn’t played in a game this season because he’s recovering from surgery on a broken bone in his left foot.
“It seems to be that time of year,” said Bassin, referring to his club’s rash of serious injuries to key players the past few years. “We should be expecting it. It seems to happen so often.” Betz, who joins Harper and Fox on NHL Central Scouting’s watch list of prospects for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, has two goals, five points and nine penalty minutes in 11 games after totaling five goals, 14 points and 45 penalty minutes in 61 games as a rookie a season ago.
– Victor Fernandes