Happy New Year! I hope 2011 brings prosperity to everyone, but mostly the Canucks. The following players are also hoping the New Year brings a quick recovery.
Derek Boogaard of the Rangers re-injured his shoulder in late December and has missed the last 10 games. Unfortunately there have been no details released as to the extent of his latest setback. Muscle injuries take some time to heal, but they usually do so successfully if allowed to recover completely. Projecting time away from the game is difficult due to the lack of information. The safe bet would be 2-to-4 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury, but the prognosis tends to be on the lengthier end when dealing with a recurring injury. If Boogaard is still out near the end of the month, the Rangers may choose to hold him out until after the All-Star break to give him a few more days to heal.
Chicago’s Jonathon Toews suffered a right shoulder strain last week, but he was able to get back on the ice Monday and even scored the game-winning goal. The injury was evidently only minor, so consider Toews healthy going forward.
Toronto’s Jean-Sebastian Giguere practiced Sunday for the first time since injuring his groin in mid-December. Giguere felt he was ready to return this week, but head coach Ron Wilson noted that Giguere will be held out at least one more week to avoid any further issues. As a goalie, if Giguere’s groin region is not 100 percent, he will not be able to move as quickly as he needs to and will not be able to stretch for elusive pucks. Goalie is one position where playing at less than 100 percent can have long-term implications, so this is one situation where waiting to return until after the All-Star could prove very beneficial. However, it looks like Giguere will be back on the ice before the break.
St. Louis’ T.J. Oshie has made great progress in recent weeks. He had surgery to repair a broken ankle on November 11 but has already resumed skating and recently practiced without wearing an orange non-contact jersey. This is a great sign because it means the fracture has healed enough already to take contact; and while Oshie is not ready yet, he is on the right track. The Blues are hoping to have him back by late January, which would place a return right around the All-Star break. The Blues may play Oshie a game or two and then use the break to work on conditioning. On the other hand, they may decide to be cautious and wait until after the break to make sure he is 100 percent.
Minnesota’s Marek Zidlicky suffered a shoulder injury in late December and is expected to miss several months, if not the season. There is nothing indicating the type of injury, but the timeline indicates possible ligament damage; and he may have a partial shoulder separation based on the length of time he is projected to be out. Until the specifics of the injury are known, it would be difficult speculate on the type of rehab except that it would involve symptom management and strengthening.
Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf is dealing with a fractured sinus bone that requires little to no rehab, but he is still expected to be out of action 4-to-6 weeks. Getzlaf will also return around the All-Star break and will not need to do much, besides some conditioning, to get back into playing shape. Still, the Kings will certainly miss him while he is out.
Erik Christensen of the Rangers has a second degree strain of the MCL in his right knee and will be out 4-to-6 weeks. Four weeks may be a little too soon, so the team will most likely take advantage of the extra time afforded by the All-Star break. The MCL provides a lot of the stability for the knee and is one of the main ligaments that can get stressed during activity, so keeping it healthy is important to an athlete’s ability to stay active. Not much can be done until the MCL has healed enough to start moving the knee, at which point strengthening will begin. Christensen will most likely wear a brace to assist with ligament healing; and after two or three weeks he will begin the rehab process. Don’t expect to see him on the ice again until sometime in February.
Edmonton’s Ryan Whitney hurt his ankle in late December and is expected to be out at least a month, possibly longer if he has any tendon damage. There are few things more challenging than moving around on ice on only a thin blade of steel, so a strong and stable ankle is important to a hockey player’s success. Most of the rehab will be spent on balance and strengthening. First, the focus will be static balance (for instance, standing on one leg) then on dynamic balance (jumping from one leg to the other leg). Picture doing this while skating around on the ice and you have a little sense of the balance a hockey player needs.
Lastly, Washington’s Matt Bradley underwent surgery on a broken bone in late December and will likely be out anywhere from 4-to-6 weeks. We have covered similar injuries before, but the main issue with recovery is gaining hand strength and dexterity. Getting the motion back should not be too difficult unless Bradley develops tendon issues due to extended immobility. Most of the rehab will be spent on strength and gripping the stick so he can regain puck handling skills and the ability to shoot. I’m sure Bradley was disappointed to miss the Winter Classic, but I’m also sure he is more interested in being healthy in time for the playoffs.