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Kyle Okposo had eye surgery, two sources confirm

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo looks

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo looks on during Group A training camp at Nassau Coliseum on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

PHILADELPHIA - Two sources confirmed a report from earlier this week that Kyle Okposo had surgery to repair a detached retina two weeks ago.

The Islanders would not confirm the specifics of the injury, sticking to their official listing of an upper-body injury for Okposo. The two sources are from outside the organization and said he played with the nagging problem before the All-Star break but decided to see an eye doctor to make sure there was no serious issue.

There was an issue, clearly, and immediate surgery was recommended so Okposo would not miss more of the season than if he'd waited.

The Islanders gave a timetable of six to eight weeks for Okposo's return from the date of the surgery, so that now would be down to four to six weeks. One of the sources indicated that the timetable is not set in stone, given the nature of eye injuries, and that it is possible Okposo will be back sooner than a month from now.

The team has struggled without Okposo, totaling only five goals in the three games before Thursday night's 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers. Playing with the retina issue, Okposo scored four goals against the Penguins on Jan. 16 and had another goal the next night in Montreal.

Strait in, Visnovsky out

Jack Capuano made a surprising decision for the game, scratching Lubomir Visnovsky in favor of Brian Strait.

After missing nine games because of back spasms, Visnovsky played two games but had a very difficult game on Tuesday against the Panthers. Strait had been solid in Visnovsky's absence, so Capuano decided to sit Visnovsky against the Flyers.

"I thought Straiter was real good when he was in there before and he deserves to get back in,'' Capuano said. "It's nothing against Viz. We decided to make the change for tonight.''

This was Strait's first opportunity of his 28 games this season to play without an injury to a regular being the reason. That wasn't lost on him.

"It was a bit of a shock when I came out of the lineup. I know when I'm playing well and when I'm not,'' Strait said. "Now it's time to contribute again and help get the team back on track.''

Trip for dads commences

The Islanders' fathers (and brothers) trip began on Wednesday with the trip down to Philadelphia. Nearly every player has someone along for the three-game trip, including Frans Nielsen, whose father, Frits, will be on hand in Buffalo on Sunday for his son's 500th NHL game.

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