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NHL Injury Analysis: The Flyers' Broken Wings

Hannah Rawls

Hannah Rawls

Hannah is from St. Petersburg, FL. She graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University. She's a certified athletic trainer and currently works for a NCAA D2 college in Florida. She has worked with NAIA and NCAA football, rugby, and lacrosse and ACHA ice hockey as an athletic trainer.


There are only a few things that annoy me. I'm sorry that's actually a complete lie, a lot of things annoy me. However, the one thing that tops the charts every hockey season is when teams list their players as having "upper body" or "lower body" injuries and then don't specify anything. There are 10 of those injuries listed just this week alone, and as this shortened season continues the list will continue to grow and so will my annoyance. I get that it's a good way to not give away a weakness to an opponent, but it makes it really hard to nerd out on injuries like I want to.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell of Los Angeles is slowly but surely recovering from the knee surgery he secretly underwent two months ago. The Kings' GM finally admitted (after lying for a couple weeks) that Mitchell underwent surgery to have cartilage removed from his knee. Now, I can't say what particular cartilage he had removed, but what I do know is that no matter what the surgery was, the recovery time should have been about two-to-three weeks long. According to the team, Mitchell pushed himself too far, too fast during the healing phase and had a huge setback. About eight weeks have passed since his surgery and he has been officially cleared by both the team doctors and athletic trainers, but not himself. The 35 year old blueliner is keeping himself barred from the ice because he doesn't want to aggravate the injury. This sounds like a completely mental issue and not a physical one. Mentally healing from an injury can be difficult, and can take a lot of time. This is something that heals like a concussion; there is no timetable for his return to play but when he does come back he should be at 110%.

Andrej Meszaros of Philidelphia is out for at least a month following a shoulder injury. The team has announced that it is a muscle injury that surrounds the shoulder joint, which is a weird way of saying that he strained one of his rotator cuff muscles or he's experiencing chronic subluxations of his shoulder (it's popping in and out a lot, which is, something I believe to be uncomfortable). There are four muscles that make up what we think of as the "rotator cuff", all four muscles are important for shoulder stabilization (keeping the shoulder from flopping around everywhere). The Flyers are saying that Meszaros will be out for about 4-to-6 weeks doing rehab to strengthen the muscles within the shoulder structure. The rehab that he will go through won't be extreme, but it will be helpful to getting him back to normal. However, if rehab doesn't work and I'm correct about the chronic subluxations, surgery would be the next step. I would watch out for Meszaros when (or if) he returns this season, but I would keep in mind not only this injury but also the fact that he is still fresh from recovering from Achilles' tendon repair surgery. (Full disclosure, I'm assuming these shoulder scenarios are the issues because the Flyers are shady with injury details, but these assumptions are also extremely educated guesses.)

The Flyers are honestly having the worst luck when it comes to injuries. Winger Scott Hartnell is recovering from surgery to repair a broken first metatarsal in his left foot. Hartnell took a slap shot to the foot during the game against New Jersey this week. The surgery to repair such an injury requires the reduction of the broken ends of the bone (moving them back together) and holding them together with some combination of screws, wires, or plates. After the surgery a splint is normally applied for about a week, after which the stitches from the incisions are taken out and a cast is applied for about 4-to-6 weeks. Over the course of the time in the cast Hartnell will experience muscle atrophy (his muscles around the foot will get extremely weak from not using them). The team is estimating his return in about 4-to-6 weeks, which seems pretty early to me just because of the weakness that will develop in his muscles.

Chris Kreider of the Rangers had an MRI conducted and there was a bone chip discovered in is his right ankle. The Rangers are claiming that Krieder will only be off ice for a few days but I find that extremely hard to believe. Most bone chips are caused by avulsion fractures, and since this is in his ankle it points to him have a pretty bad ankle sprain recently. Something had to spark the team to get him an MRI, so I think there may be more to the story. However, if we see him back on the ice in a few days ignore what I just said.

Max Pacioretty of Montreal was rushed into emergency surgery to have his appendix removed Saturday. Pacioretty was thought to be suffering from the flu, and the team thought they'd have him back in a matter of days. However, after an emergency appendectomy Pacioretty will be missing 3-to-4 weeks to recover. It may seem like a lot of time for the winger to miss during this shortened season but healing from this surgery is easy and requires no extra rehab like a shoulder or knee would. With only three games played so far Pacioretty has four assists. I wouldn't write him off just because he's short an organ that serves no significant purpose in our bodies.

I mentioned the ridiculous amount of groin injuries throughout the league last week. One of aforementioned was the Red Wings' Mikael Samuelsson, who has been plagued with multiple injuries since last season. The Wings gave him a chance during the first two games of the season, but it seems like Samuelsson has re-aggravated his groin injury and has been put on the IR for an undetermined amount of time. With this kind of news, it goes to show you how annoyingly aggravating groin injuries can be. Not only are they annoying but they really are painful, and they can last forever if not treated properly. The muscles that make up the dreaded "groin" injury are important for pulling the legs together, and also help with some hip movement. In laymen's terms you need them to skate and walk properly and when those muscles are damaged it's hard to do those things. I'm saying this to get you to understand the significance of this injury. If one of your players is sitting because of a groin injury, or one pops up during the season understand the impact it will have on them and choose who you play accordingly.

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