The Washington Stealth announced today that three-time NLL All-Star forward Jeff Zywicki will be placed on the injured reserve list after suffering a lower body injury in the Stealth's season opener in Colorado on January 8. The Stealth also announced that seven-year National Lacrosse League veteran Craig Conn, a former UMass lacrosse player, will replace Zywicki, a UMass All-American, on the active roster, Conn signing a contract for the 2011 season that is pending league approval.
Zywicki was a major contributor is the Stealth's 11-10 overtime win over the Mammoth last weekend, recording three goals and two assists. Last season, Zywicki missed three games due to injury, but still managed to tally 71 points on 30 goals and 41 assists during the regular season. He was instrumental in the Stealth's postseason success with nine goals and four assists in three games.
"Obviously losing a player of Jeff's caliber is a serious blow to our team," said Stealth Head Coach Chris Hall. "He's a huge part of our offense as he demonstrated in Colorado, and he's a respected leader in our locker room. Our hope is that his recovery goes smoothly and we'll have him back in six weeks for the remainder of the season."
Conn joins the Stealth for his eighth NLL season. The 5'11", 205-pound forward has played for five teams prior to joining the Stealth, most recently playing for the Calgary Roughnecks a year ago. With the Roughnecks, Conn appeared in all 16 regular season games, scoring 19 goals and adding 23 assists. In his career, Conn has appeared in 84 games and accumulated 298 points (137g, 161a) including back-to-back years with the Arizona Sting with 60-plus points. In 2006, he tallied a career-high 44 goals and added 23 assists with 91 loose balls. A year later, he set career-highs with 55 assists, 76 points and 106 loose balls. Conn was originally drafted in the first round (4th overall) by the Vancouver Ravens in the 2033 NLL Entry Draft.
"You can't replace a Jeff Zywicki, but we needed to go out and get a goal scorer and we did just that with Craig Conn," added Hall. "It was a quick and easy decision to get him signed and we are very fortunate to be able to get a proven goal scorer to step in and fill the void left with Zywicki out of the lineup."