Martin talks to Malone, says hit was clean

Lying in a hospital bed with a halo keeping his neck stable, Denver’s Jesse Martin harbors no ill will toward North Dakota’s Brad Malone.

It was Malone’s hit that knocked Martin out of Saturday’s game and probably ended his career, but according to the Denver Post, Martin spoke to Malone for 10 minutes Monday and told him the hit in question wasn’t dirty.

“Jesse had heard Brad was having a tough time, and he wanted Brad to know he had no hard feelings,” Martin’s father, Terry, said in a phone interview with the Post. “Jesse doesn’t think it was an illegal hit, and he wanted Brad to know that.”

Terry Martin said DU trainer Aaron Leu dialed Malone’s number and Jesse was able to hold the phone to his ear through the bottom of his neck brace. Doctors have decided against surgery Tuesday to repair the neck fractures, but it may be scheduled for Wednesday, pending results of the latest CT scan, Terry Martin said.

At practice Monday, Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky and the team struggled with their emotions.

“Jesse understands it’s a game, a hard, physical game, and unfortunately in rare occasions, things like that happen,” Gwozdecky said to the Post. “From what I understand, Jesse is very forgiving, and I’m sure that brings a sense of relief to (Malone).”