It was a pretty big deal when Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, for the first time in his NHL career, missed a playoff game in the Western Conference finals. The future Hall of Famer missed Games 4 and 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks (both Detroit wins) and, as it turns out, he had a pretty good -- and extremely painful -- excuse.
He was having his testicle operated on as a result of an injury suffered in Game 3.
The injury reportedly occurred when Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp speared him in the groin area during Chicago's 4-3 overtime win on May 22. Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Pressreports that Lidstrom called it the most painful injury he's ever had, while the 39-year-old continued: "I thought it was OK that Saturday when I practiced ... but Sunday, Sunday I was just in too much pain. I had surgery during that game."
May 22, 2009: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was speared in the testicles during Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. He later had surgery and missed two games. Click through to see other cringe-inducing injuries through the years.
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
May 27, 2009: Spanish matador Israel Lancho is rushed to the hospital after being gored by a bull during the San Isidro Festival. Lancho reportedly has an eight-inch wound in his abdominal area, but the bull's horn missed his heart.
Alberto Simon, AFP / Getty Images
April 5, 2009: Greco-Roman wrestler Serkan Ozden of Turkey grimaces in pain after breaking a finger and losing a bronze medal match at the European Championships.
Liusjenas Kulbis, AP
Feb. 8, 2007: Bryce Davison's skate blade catches the face of his figure skating partner, Jessica Dube, at an international competition. She later receives 80 stitches to repair a laceration on her cheek and nose. Both skaters would go through stress therapy for the incident, but they returned to competition together.
Elaine Thompson, AP
March 23, 2009: Cameron Ciraldo, an Australian rugby player for the Newcastle Knights, suffers a severe dislocation of an ankle and a fractured fibula. "It was hard to look - it wasn't pretty," a teammate said.
Mark Kolbe, Getty Images
Dec. 21, 2008: While trying to catch a pass in the New Orleans Bowl, Southern Miss wide receiver DeAndre Brown's leg crumples awkwardly. The break occurred only minutes after his 67th reception of the season set a school record.
Chris Graythen, Getty Images
Feb. 26, 2007: Clippers guard Shaun Livingston falls awkwardly following a missed layup, tearing knee ligaments in the process.
Harry How, Getty Images
Aug. 13, 2008: Weightlifter Janos Baranyai of Hungary suffers a dislocated elbow while attempting a lift at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Phil Walter, Getty Images
Nov. 1, 2008: Pacers forward Danny Granger leaves more than his heart out on the floor while leading his team to victory. Granger, bottom, hustles for a loose ball, but loses his two front teeth after getting crunched by Celtics star Paul Pierce.
June 28, 1997: Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield has a chunk of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson during a boxing match. Tyson was disqualified from the title bout by referee Mills Lane.
Jed Jacobsohn, Getty Images
It's kind of amazing that he only missed two games with the injury, especially since Damien Cox of the Toronto Star referred to it as a "nearly catastrophic injury to his testicle" back on June 5. Um. Ouch? Moral of the story: hockey players are intense -- and determined, and maybe even a little crazy.
It's always interesting to look at the injury reports that come out following the Stanley Cup playoffs, as we discover how the players mired in slumps were actually playing through a broken foot or a dislocated shoulder (or something equally painful). Though, this is the first time I can recall hearing about a nearly catastrophic testicle injury.
Lidstrom finished the postseason with four goals and 12 assists in 21 playoff games, while his shot as time expired in Game 7 was turned aside by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Lidstrom is a finalist for the Norris Trophy (again), while he's taken home the award as the NHL's best defenseman six times, including three years in a row.