After suffering a compression fracture in his vertebrae earlier this season, Jets forward Bryan Little thought his season was over. Things have changed for the better since then. Little has started skating with a regular practice jersey (as opposed to a non-contact jersey).
“It just means I’ve been cleared for some contact,” Little said of wearing a regular jersey, per the Winnipeg Free Press. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s at a point now where everyone’s pretty safe and I feel pretty comfortable that we can do that.
“They’re not going to put me in unless I’m absolutely 100 per cent and I don’t want to play unless I’m absolutely 100 per cent. Everything feels really good right now. I think I’m close to 100 per cent. It’s just a matter of everything being strong enough to take a hit.”
Little suffered the injury on Feb. 18 after he was leveled by Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman (above). The Jets forward has been unable to play since then, but things could have been much worse.
As for the hit itself, Little admitted that he didn’t put himself in the greatest position.
“It’s tough,” admitted Little. “Let’s just say I put myself in a bad position, when I look at it again. I was leaning forward, kind of losing my balance and reaching back. It was the three no-no’s of skating right up the middle of the ice. And I think he was just doing what any defenseman would do. He saw me with my head down and he took advantage of that.”
We still don’t know if Little will play again this season, but the fact that he can already take contact is a step in the right direction.