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Red Wings players injured in limousine accident

June 14, 1997 GMT

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) _ Detroit Red Wings star Vladimir Konstantinov and a team masseur were in critical condition Friday night after sustaining head injuries in a limousine accident that left teammate Viacheslav Fetisov hospitalized with less serious injuries.

The injuries to Konstantinov and team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov were life-threatening, said Dr. James Cisek, an emergency doctor at William Beaumont Hospital.

``Konstantinov had significant head injury,″ Cisek said of the 30-year-old Russian defenseman. ``It will require days to assess the degree of his head injury. Both (with head injuries) will require close monitoring in the intensive care unit.″

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Fetisov, 39, also a Russian defenseman, was listed in fair condition with chest injuries and a bruised lung. The driver of the limousine, Richard Gnida, 28, also was in fair condition.

Witnesses said the limousine veered out of control in the Oakland County suburb of Birmingham at about 9:30 p.m. EDT and swerved into a median, hitting a tree. Red Wings spokesman Tony Lasher said 17 players attended a golf outing Friday afternoon.

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, team captain Steve Yzerman, players Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan and a team trainer arrived at the hospital after the accident, but didn’t speak to reporters.

Konstantinov has played six seasons with the Red Wings after seven years with the Central Red Army team, where he also teamed with Fetisov.

Fetisov, a longtime captain of the Central Red Army squad, joined the Red Wings in 1995 after five seasons with the New Jersey Devils. He played on Olympic championship teams in 1984 and 1988, and also helped the Soviet Union capture seven world titles and one Canada Cup.