Following the Bruins' game-day skate on Tuesday, team captain Zdeno Chara told ESPN.com that he has been playing with a dislocated left pinkie finger. After the Bruins' 4-1 loss to the Capitals later that night, Chara elaborated on the injury, describing the pain and frustration he has been playing through since suffering the injury back on Nov. 20.
He wouldn't use the injury as an excuse, however, for what has been a down season for him, especially compared to his Norris Trophy-winning campaign in 2008-09.
"I completely tore all my ligaments and tendons," Chara explained. "It was in a cast for six or seven weeks. I'm not making excuses. Lots of guys are playing with injuries. I had two fingers taped together, and it was hard to play with only three fingers holding the stick. There wasn't really any grip. Again, I'm not making excuses. Anyway I can play the game, I'll play."
Chara said he will have offseason surgery to straighten out his clearly disfigured and twisted digit. He plans to tough it out, though, until the season is over.
"I think I'll have to get it fixed [surgically]. It's all crooked," Chara said as he tried to make a fist. "I can't close the hand or straighten the finger. I don't want to have long-term issues. It's one of those things where they'll have to put a pin in or something, straighten it out and try to make it normal.
"The whole thing just ripped," he said. "It was pretty frustrating because, believe it or not, the pinkie makes the grip. If you're squeezing something without the pinkie you realize how much less grip you have in your hand. Without two fingers, it's so weak."
The injury also explains why "Big Z" hasn't taken out his frustrations by pummeling an opponent as he did to then-Blackhawks enforcer David Koci two seasons ago.
"Obviously I couldn't," said Chara when asked if he could fight while wearing the protective piece on his left hand. "I would poke somebody's eye out, probably."
The injury also has limited Chara, who has the NHL's fastest shot, to just four goals on the season to this point.