Status of Colorado's ailing Sakic, Smyth still in doubt

The Colorado Avalanche could be without two of their most important players for the next few games and possibly more, according to a Denver Post report.

Forward Ryan Smyth is waiting for the test results on a neck injury so severe that even a slight move of the head causes severe pain. Center Joe Sakic continues to suffer with an injured groin.

Sakic has not played since picking up the injury in a game at San Jose on Nov. 30 and hasn't skated at all since Saturday after the groin apparently tightened.

The Avalanche told The Post Sakic appeared to be on the mend, but coach Joel Quenneville revealed Thursday he he hasn't been on the ice with the team since his injury worsened.

"He knew it wasn't right," Quenneville said in the Post story. "We'll know when it's right when we put him back on the ice next time. That was his test, to kind of give him a baseline to figure out where he's at. But he's not ready to get out on the ice yet."

Meanwhile, Avalanche officials are unsure when -- or even how -- Smyth injured his neck, but that the former member of the Edmonton Oilers (1994-2007) and New York Islanders woke up with a stiff neck on Wednesday morning. More pressing to Avalanche coaches, meanwhile, is just how serious Smyth's neck injury is at this point.

The Denver Post notes that the worst-case scenario is that Smyth suffered a herniated disc, and faces a lengthy rehabilitation period.

Smyth joined the Avalanche during summer break after being convinced to join by Sakic, who he'd grown to admire by playing with him on Team Canada.

Smyth has 11 goals and 17 assists in 33 games this season for Colorado, while Sakic, the team captain, has 7 goals and 15 assists in 24 games.