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Star Panthers winger Todd Bertuzzi may need back surgery

Bertuzzi hasn’t played since Oct. 18, missing the last seven games while receiving treatment and injections for a herniated disc. But it hasn’t helped and the former Vancouver Canucks forward may require surgery, which could sideline him for six to eight weeks.

“There hasn’t been a decision made quite yet,” Panthers coach and GM Jacques Martin told The Canadian Press on Wednesday. “Our doctor has spoken with him and his agent. A decision should be taken soon. He tried injections and rehab and it didn’t respond. We should know by tomorrow what decision will be taken.”

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Bertuzzi, acquired in the Roberto Luongo deal last June, has seven points (1-6) in seven games this season. He’s earning US$5.27 million and will be an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The 31-year-old native of Sudbury, Ont., had 71 points (25-46) in 82 games with Vancouver last season, his seventh season with the Canucks. He has 224 goals and 312 assists in 717 career games with Florida, Vancouver and the New York Islanders.