Tag: rehab

Ryan Kesler

Vancouver should be careful with Ryan Kesler; hopes to be ready by opening night

During the last two seasons, Vancouver Canucks two-way forward Ryan Kesler’s star has risen as much as any other player in the NHL – at least if you narrow down the field to players who already showed promise. Kesler put an exclamation point on his Selke Trophy-winning 2010-11 season by dominating the Canucks’ second round series against the Nashville Predators, but rumors of injuries surfaced beginning in the Western Conference finals.

Kesler underwent hip surgery in early August, leaving many to wonder if he might miss a chunk of regular season games to start the 2011-12 campaign since the rehab window called for about 10-12 weeks of recovery.

Kesler seems (dangerously?) optimistic

Missing the beginning of next season remains a genuine possibility, but NHL.com passes along reports of Kesler’s optimism about being ready for action on October 6. Dan Rosen points out that Kesler already bounced back from a hip surgery earlier than expected once in his career. Kesler underwent a similar surgery in January 2007 and came back in 10 weeks (and in time for the playoffs), well ahead of the 12-16 week window that was originally given.

“It’s going good; small victories here and there,” Kesler told Canucks TV from his hometown of Livonia, Mich. “I just got off my crutches and I’ll start strengthening so everything is back to normal. I’ll start skating here in the next couple of weeks and hopefully be back by that first game.”

Kesler’s history with hip labrum surgery suggests he might just make the opening night lineup. He had a similar surgery in January 2007 and returned 10 weeks later — in time for the start of the playoffs. He was initially told he would be out anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks.

“I know what it takes. I know the rehab,” Kesler said. “It might even make me braver to try things I probably shouldn’t be trying, but it’s going to make me come back quicker and hopefully I can play in that first game.”

That last statement raises a red flag, though: “It might even make me braver to try things I probably shouldn’t be trying.” It’s inspiring to see hockey players fight through tough injuries, but the bottom line is that such actions sometimes have the disappointing consequence of limiting their on-ice effectiveness. It would be a shame if Kesler ends up only being a fraction of the world-class player he’s been for the last two seasons after rushing back from the surgery – or worse yet – if he greatly increases his chances of aggravating the injury by coming back too soon.

Canucks, Kesler should proceed with caution

Ultimately, it’s the job of the Canucks and their training staff to make sure that Kesler doesn’t come back too soon. Kesler is in the second year of his six-year, $30 million contract, so Vancouver would be wise to take the long view with their versatile center.

The Canucks aren’t the same team without Kesler’s speed, skills and tenacity, but Vancouver rolled with a lot of injury-related punches last season and probably needs to accept the possibility of a small hangover from last summer’s disappointments anyway. Obviously, the decision is up to both sides, but GM Mike Gillis & Co. would be wise to take a cautious approach with an important player who is just about to turn 27 years old.

Report: Evgeni Malkin on the ‘fast track’ to recovery from knee surgery

Evgeni Malkin,  Tim Thomas

While the initial prognosis was that Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin would need six months to recover from surgery on a torn ACL and MCL, Dmitry Chesnokov reports that the Russian forward is ahead of schedule. Chesnokov points to a Russian report straight from Malkin’s father that the Penguins center began on-ice workouts in mid-May and was already undergoing rehab in Pittsburgh in that month.

Even after struggling in the last season and a half, there’s no doubt that the Penguins are a more explosive offensive team with Malkin in the lineup. He already has two 100+ point seasons to his credit – including 113 in 2008-09 to earn the Art Ross Trophy – but the team hopes that the 25-year-old scorer’s best days aren’t behind him.

Getting Malkin back would be a big boost for the Penguins, especially with Sidney Crosby’s status seemingly improving but undoubtedly uncertain. Chesnokov points to somewhat controversial comments made by Mario Tremblay, who claims that Crosby suffered two concussions in his junior hockey days, indicating that the all-world forward might have suffered four (rather than two) concussions in a short period of time.

Who knows how valid Tremblay’s claims might be, but they underscore how careful the Penguins must be with Crosby’s rehab process. One must hope that the team watches over Malkin’s situation with caution as well. It’s great that he is showing the spirit to fight back from always-worrisome knee problems, but there’s also the worry that he might push too hard to come back too soon and might aggravate the injury again.

Both of the Penguins’ short and long-term futures are still in doubt, which must be a disturbing circumstance about two years after they raised the 2009 Stanley Cup. We’ll keep you updated about each players’ statuses as training camp and the beginning of the 2011-12 season approaches.

NHL clears Jordin Tootoo to play in games again

Image (1) Tootoo1-thumb-200x300-10161.jpg for post 1182

The NHL and NHL Players Association announced that Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo has been cleared to play in regular season games as he continues the “follow-up care phase” of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

Tootoo checked himself into the program in late December and was allowed to practice with the Predators again in late January, so this seems like a natural progression to get the noted pest back on the ice.

While the team hasn’t made it official yet, Ryan Porth of RLD Hockey writes that Tootoo is likely to play for the Predators against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. Tootoo scored 10 points and assembled 47 penalty minutes in 32 games this season, having last played in a game on December 26th. It will be interesting to see if his pest-like game changes a bit considering his off-ice growth or if he’s able to maintain an edge even as he tries to turn his life around.

Jordin Tootoo takes next step in substance abuse program; cleared to practice with Predators

Jordin Tootoo, Mark Shewchyk

As hockey fans, we often get wrapped up in wins, losses, goals and assists. It’s easy to forget that there are human beings driving those numbers.

Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo voluntarily checked himself into the NHL/NHL Players Assocation’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program in late December. While he hasn’t been cleared to play in games or travel with the team during road trips, the NHL and NHLPA announced that Tootoo has been cleared to practice with the club again.

Tootoo has entered the “follow-up phase” of the rehab process, so he still has to clear some hurdles to appear in NHL games.