The good news on Martin Brodeur’s latest injury is that he will not require surgery. The bad news on Martin Brodeur’s latest injury is that the 38-year old goaltender is injured again.

An MRI confirmed that Martin Brodeur suffered a “non-operable knee sprain”, according to report from Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice, but no timetable was given for a return. Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello didn’t offer much in the way of a prognosis for his future Hall of Fame goaltender’s recovery:

“It’s a day-to-day rehab situation,” Lamoriello said. “When it his rehab gets to the point where his knee is better, it will be up to Marty and the doctor to decide (when he’ll play).”

What is known is that Brodeur will most certainly require some form of rehab for the injury. As Rich Chere of the Star-Ledger points out, the “non-operable” diagnosis essentially indicates that it was probably and MCL sprain. A sprain of the MCL almost always requires rehab, and it’s an injury that Brodeur is familiar with having missed time (six games) in 2005-06 – so expectations should be for a similar layoff.

This leads us to the discussion of whether or not it’s worth Brodeur to risk his health any further in an otherwise lost season. It’s been a tough year for Brodeur, having sat out twice with a pair of elbow injuries and relinquishing his status as the go-to guy in favour of a time share with Johan Hedberg.

We gotta at least ask the question: should the New Jersey Devils shut Martin Brodeur down for the remainder of the season?

There’s an argument to be made for both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The Devils have had a bad season, but they’re not out of the race officialy… not yet. Up until Brodeur’s left Sunday’s game versus Montreal, he and the Devils were playing some of their best hockey of the season. For a long time Devils fan like Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy, there’s a struggle with pride vs. reality:

… He hasn’t given up more than three goals in a game since Dec. 23, and has won six of seven starts. The Devils are 16 points out of a playoff spot with 29 games left in the season.

Again, as a Devils fan, I’m torn. There’s a certain amount of pride I take in seeing this team not go out like a punk, attempting to prove that had conditions been different at the start of the season (or in early December, when John MacLean should have been fired) the Devils could be in the playoff hunt.

And then there’s a part of me that knows this is enormously stupid, because (a) they won’t make the playoffs barring a miracle on the level of all the beer in the world simultaneously becoming free of charge; and (b) because the opportunities for this team to have a high draft pick in the first round have been sparse for the last 20 years.

Despite their place in the standings, the Devils have many of the pieces in place that could execute a near complete turnaround next season. Sure, there’s some work to be done in New Jersey – but a healthy and rested Martin Brodeur would be much more valuable to a fresh start than he would be for a hopeless ‘playoff push’.

At nearly 39-years old, the window on Brodeur’s career is closer to shut than it is wide open. Last time we checked, knees and elbows are fairly important to a goaltender. Perhaps it’s time that Brodeur is allowed the opportunity to give his body some rest.