Edmonton’s Nikolai Khabibulin has been rehabilitating a groin injury, an issue that is especially troubling for goalies because it impacts their ability to move laterally while in net. Khabibulin has taken his time coming back, which is a good move because goalies often aggravate these sorts of injuries when they come back too soon. Khabibulin is focusing on functional training at this point, so he is working on actively training his hip and groin muscles to coordinate what they do and protect his hip and groin from further injury, especially when stretching to make a pad save or a glove save. Khabibulin could return to action as soon as this week.
Washington’s Tom Poti also has a groin injury, but it is not severe enough to keep him off the ice. Poti did sit out the practice the day after suffering the injury, but apparently that was only a precautionary measure. It may be another week or so before we see if Poti is fully healed or not. Playing with a sore groin can lead to future issues, so it may be better to rest now rather than later. The Capitals will want to make sure Poti is 100 percent come playoff time.
Colorado’s Craig Anderson was on his way back from a knee injury, but he was placed on injured reserve again after suffering a groin strain. The injury is not too severe, and since Anderson was placed on IR retroactive to November 24, he could return later this week.
Fellow Avalanche Chris Stewart will be out about 3-to-4 weeks with a broken hand. Stewart’s rehabilitation will begin once he is cleared to start moving the hand. His hand will lose muscle movement for a while, so he will need to regain his range of motion and grip strength. Expect him to return around the beginning of the new year.
Detroit’s Mike Modano underwent surgery to repair severed tendons in his wrist and could miss the rest of the season. Rehabilitating a tendon is always a long process because the tendon needs to be fully healed before to begin strengthening and avoid re-injury. It is a long process, and something at this point in his career Modano may not want to go through. On a personal note, it never feels right that such a player may finish his career injured. Hopefully Modano makes it back this season so he can receive a proper farewell if he decides to hang up the skates.
Vancouvers’s Sami Salo is not retiring any time soon, but he is still roughly 3-to-4 weeks away from returning to the ice. Salo is coming back from an Achilles tendon injury, which takes a long time because the tendon is crucial to foot movement. Salo is doing some light jogging, but do not expect him to return until he starts ramping up the intensity of his workouts.
Trent Hunter of the Islanders will be out roughly 3-to-4 months while rehabilitating a Grade III MCL tear. Surgery is usually not an option unless there is damage to other aspects of the knee, so Hunter will have to regain both motion and eventually strength before nearing a return. This will be a test of patience for Hunter because there is nothing he can really do to speed up the process.
Fellow Islander Doug Weight has missed several games with back spasms. If he is dealing with a muscle issue, the rest and rehabilitation should solve the problem; but if the pain persists, there may be some underlying issues. Sometimes a hit may cause a joint in the back to get irritated and cause associated muscle spasms. Manual therapy will help with joint mobility and assist with the recovery of the muscle spasms. Since Weight is not playing, the back problem should get better within another week or so. If it does not, it may be more than just a muscle issue.
Anaheim’s Lubomir Visnovsky is also having issues with back spasms, but he was able to return to the ice Monday night. His playing time was limited initially, but he should begin playing his regular ice time soon barring any setbacks.
Florida’s Steve Bernier underwent surgery to repair an orbital bone fracture two weeks ago. He was originally expected to miss about 3-to-4 weeks, but it sounds like there is a chance he could return Wednesday. I am not sure how Bernier’s bone is healed enough to get back on the ice, but it is possible the fracture healed quicker than usual because it was not very big. Hopefully Bernier’s rapid recovery does not lead to further issues going forward.
Atlanta’s Fredrik Modin has a rib injury that kept off the ice until Saturday, when he practiced for 20 minutes. There are three main effects of rib injuries. First, they can impede breathing, and in turn endurance. Secondly, there may be some stiffness in the rib cage, which can lead to pain in the arms since they are attached to the ribcage. Lastly, rib injuries are usually sensitive to impact, so taking hits against the boards is not a very pleasant experience. Despite these problems, the fact Modin is practicing is a good sign. Hopefully he will be cleared for contact soon.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Don’t look now, but Christmas is right around the corner!