EDMONTON, Alberta -- Carolina coach Peter Laviolette was quick to shoot down any suggestion injured forward Erik Cole would make a dramatic return to the Hurricanes lineup in this Stanley Cup finals series.
"Erik Cole is not playing," Laviolette told reporters Monday morning in advance of Game 4 against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.
Based on X-rays doctors saw three weeks ago, Cole's season is done, Laviolette said.
"Could Dwayne Roloson play tonight? I guess there's always the chance and the possibility. But I don't want to send that message," Laviolette said.
Cole, who suffered two fractures in his vertebrae after being driven to the ice by Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik on March 4, has been skating with his teammates for about three weeks.
Cole told reporters as he left the ice Monday morning that he was more optimistic that he might see some action, depending on the length of the series.
"It's no fun watching. You feel helpless when you are watching from the press box, but if there's a chance, or if we can sit down and figure something out, then we'll obviously consider it," Cole said.
The Hurricanes lead the series, 2-1.
Scott Burnside is an NHL writer for ESPN.com.