Isles' defense keeps taking hits

Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders skates against the

Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders skates against the Winnipeg Jets at Nassau Coliseum. (April 2, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

When Andrew MacDonald went down after being hit up high by a puck during practice Monday, it marked the second potential injury in three days to an already thin group of defensemen for the Islanders.

Both MacDonald and Thomas Hickey, who left Saturday's game after taking a shot off his foot, practiced Tuesday and will be further evaluated before Wednesday's game against Winnipeg at the Coliseum.

"It's their first day back, we'll see," coach Jack Capuano said after practice when asked if his defensemen will be ready to go. "It's good to see them out there, no question, but we'll re-evaluate after practice and see how their health is. We've had some crazy luck on the back end this year so we're hoping they're OK."

MacDonald, who wore extra protection on the bottom of his helmet during practice, and Hickey looked to be skating well. But you won't find any excuses from the Islanders should they not be able to play.

"It's just the game and the sport," defenseman Travis Hamonic said. "I don't think there's ever been a team in any hockey league that's gone a whole season without any injuries. That's part of the process -- guys are going to come in and out and that's just the way things are."

The Islanders are 2-8 in their last 10 games and have surrendered 38 goals in that span.

"It's a challenge at times but no one is going to make excuses for us or give us an easy game or give us points," John Tavares said. "We have to go out there and earn it and it doesn't change the fact that we haven't played our best. We've won some games and played well with the guys we had in the lineup the past few weeks so we know the capability is there."

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