When ‘Canes defenseman Joni Pitkanen was hurt in an icing crash with Troy Brouwer on Apr. 2, the severity of the collision suggested the injury would be serious.
Now, we’re finding out just how serious it is.
After learning Pitkanen would be lost for the year with a broken left calcaneus bone (heel), the Washington Times reports the 29-year-old basically shattered the bone into pieces.
According to the Times’ Stephen Whyno, Pitkanen broke his calcaneus in eight places, a similar injury to the one ex-Washington forward Pat Peake suffered in 1996 — one that all but ended his career.
Here’s more, from the Times:
Peake played just five more games after his heel bone broke in 14 places and twisted. Pitkanen’s broke in eight places but didn’t move, Peake said. That’s considered a positive.
“Your heel bone, the best way to describe it is like an egg. So if you give it a good flick or a thump, it just kind of splinters and cracks like that,” Peake said. “And it just goes right around the whole way. That’s exactly what happened to his. It’s such an odd injury.”
Peake said it’s an injury common to construction workers who fall from two or three stories and people in car accidents who slam on the brakes. In hockey, Peake was the prime example before Pitkanen.
Peake feels his injury wasn’t handled properly and, as a result, is still feeling the effects today.
He told the Times “to this day I can’t walk the length of the mall,” but feels Pitkanen has a better chance of recovery because, unlike Peake, he’s avoiding surgery.
“Am I optimistic that Pitkanen can get back to playing? Yeah, I kind of am, as far as playing, because he’s not going to go the surgery route,” Peake said. “You just hope that obviously the medical aspect of it has come a long way.
“I know there’s some good doctors and some good people.”
It should be noted that, originally, the Hurricanes announced Pitkanen’s injury would keep him out 10-12 weeks.