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Girard suffered other injuries

Fractured neck not his biggest concern

Jonathan Girard, the Bruins defenseman who was lucky to survive an automobile accident in Quebec last month that crushed his pelvis and placed his hockey career in jeopardy, also fractured two vertebrae in his neck and later developed a blood clot in his lung that doctors feared could have dislodged and moved to his heart.

"It was a pretty [bad] accident," said Girard's agent, Bob Sauve, speaking yesterday from his Montreal office. "The neck isn't so bad; that's maybe not as serious as it sounds, but it was fractured. The doctors were really worried more about the clot, though, because of what might happen if it went to the heart."

Sauve, a former NHL goalie, said he believed the medical staff at Hopital du Sacre-Coeur in Montreal, where Girard was taken immediately after the July 24 accident, dissolved the clot with medication. He said it was removed without surgery.

Fellow defensemen Nick Boynton and Bryan Berard visited the injured player in his hospital room Friday. According to Sauve, Girard grows stronger each day and likely will be moved this week to a rehabilitation facility to begin therapy. His pelvis, fractured in four places, required painstaking surgery, and Girard must remain immobile to allow it to mend. He is not expected to even attempt to skate again until next summer at the earliest.

Sauve said details of the accident remain sketchy. Contrary to initial reports, Sauve said, the crash came shortly before noon -- rather than early afternoon -- and he doesn't believe speed or road conditions were a factor.

"As far as I understand, he just lost control of the car in a curve," said Sauve. "I really don't know what happened, but I think it hit a guard rail, flipped a few times, and came to rest mostly on its side."

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