Matt Cooke out 5-6 weeks, maybe the season

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The Minnesota Wild on Friday gave an official prognosis for injured forward Matt Cooke. Head coach Mike Yeo informed reporters that Cooke underwent successful sports hernia surgery and will miss 5-6 weeks.

Minnesota's regular season wraps up April 7, so the injury and surgery doesn't necessarily mean Cooke's season is over. Michael Russo's sources told him earlier this week that Cooke would likely miss the remainder of the season, but the 5-6 week timetable would put him back on the ice sometime in late March. Whether he'll simply be rehabbing, practicing or playing is unknown.

Playing without Cooke won't be anything new for the team. The veteran winger missed 22 games earlier this season with a hip flexor. Hockey Wilderness adds that Cooke has been playing primarily on the fourth line this season because of improved scoring depth on the top three lines.

Zach Parise disagrees. He told the Pioneer Press that losing Cooke is a big deal.

"He's a very effective player for us," Parise said Thursday. "He's one of those guys where an opponent's got to know that he's out there, so it'll be a big loss for us. Hopefully he'll be back. If not, we have to find someone else to do that job."

The Wild have won four in a row and a win over Colorado could vault them into ninth-place in the Western Conference playoff race. Entering Friday's slate of NHL games, they are five points behind eight-place Vancouver.

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