SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Swedish hockey captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the Sochi Games because of a herniated disk.
"What he's going through right now, it hurts just to watch him," Olympic and Detroit Red Wings teammate Niklas Kronwall said after a 1-0 win Friday over Switzerland. "He goes through more than most people just to be able to play."
Zetterberg played through pain and scored a goal in the Swedes' opening victory over the Czech Republic on Wednesday, but sat out of Thursday's practice because of his back injury.
"It is so painful for him that he can't be in it anymore," team doctor Bjorn Waldeback said. "It is Z who has taken this decision together with me. I think it is the cumulative load. There was no specific thing that happened in the game. The issues came the morning after. These are nerve-related issues and they often come creeping in. It is not one specific injury."
The Detroit Red Wings captain had anti-inflammatory treatment and consulted with the NHL's doctors in Sochi.
"(The NHL doctors) totally agree with us," Waldeback said. "When you suffer from a herniated disc the way he does, you need to go home for a medical evaluation."
The four-time Olympian's absence is another big blow to the Swedes, who were medal favorites before forwards Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen also were forced to skip the Olympics with injuries.
"I spoke with Z on the evening after (Wednesday's) game and he didn't show any signs of feeling the slightest pain," Swedish head coach Par Marts said. "Of course it's nothing one wishes for, but we have to see the possibilities and look forward."