The last installment of the pre-playoffs injury updates is an all-California affair. In keeping with the west coast theme, now seems like a good time to mention that I predicted the Ducks would go far in the playoffs this year. Whatever. My thing is injuries, not picking teams that are worth a damn.
Los Angeles Kings
First playoff game: April 11th vs the Vancouver Canucks
Jeff Carter (C): Out since 03/30 – Ankle
Carter missed several games after hurting his ankle in a game against Calgary. Imaging didn’t turn up any serious damage, but he does have bruising on the bone. That sounds painful mostly because it really, really is. Bones don’t like being messed with. He spent a couple of days on crutches, but has progressed to the point of participating in Monday’s practice. I’m not sure I’d put money on him starting the series against the Canucks, but he’ll be two weeks out from the injury at that point so it’s not impossible. If he’s not back then, he likely will be shortly thereafter.
Simon Gagné (LW): Out since 12/27/11 – Concussion
If the Kings are smart, Gagné won’t be back this year. He was injured in late December, and isn’t practicing. This is a guy with a history littered with concussions, so rushing him back from this one would be dangerous and stupid. They’ve been without him for months (and doing fine in his absence), so there’s no need to jeopardize his career (and quality of life) for the playoffs. I sincerely hope I’m right about this and that we don’t see him back this year.
Scott Parse (LW): Out since 11/09/11 – Hip
Parse had hip labrum repair surgery in early December, and started skating in early March. That’s just about on pace with a three to five month rehab timeline, but I have a hard time seeing the Kings dropping him back into the lineup for the playoffs even if he’s feeling good. If this feels like deja-vu, it should – this is the same injury and surgery Parse had last season. A quick hip labrum refresher – the labrum is a rim of cartilage around the socket that the head of the femur sits in. Its job is to deepen the socket (for stability), spread out the load the hip carries, and (this is important) with the help of a bunch of ligaments it keeps the bone in the socket where it belongs. Labrum tears are notoriously painful and tricky – often players will think they’ve strained their groin because the pain isn’t always in the hip joint itself. With both hips now repaired, Parse may be able to come back for next season and live up to the potential the Kings originally saw in him. Um, you know, if they sign him (he’s a UFA after this season). But I’m not putting any money on that.
Want to know more about the hip labrum? I wrote about that when Ryan Kesler had his fixed!
San Jose Sharks
First playoff game: April 12th vs the St. Louis Blues
Torrey Mitchell (D): Out since 4/6 – Undisclosed
Mitchell missed Saturday’s game after a hit from LA’s Colin Fraser, and won’t talk about what’s hurt, but he and the team are saying he’ll be ready for Thursday. It was kind of a gross hit, with Fraser checking him from behind after a completed pass. The announcer described it as “shoulder to shoulder”, but your shoulder isn’t located on your back. At any rate, Mitchell’s head whipped back pretty convincingly when he was hit, and he didn’t return to the game. He’s back practicing though, so I guess his backshoulder is feeling better.
Maintenance: Ryane Clowe, Brent Burns.
Clowe and Burns both missed Monday’s practice for maintenance. No word on whether this included a video review for Clowe of dumb crap you’re not allowed to do while sitting on the bench. Also, this is playoff hockey, so “maintenance” could potentially mean “concussion”, “amputated limb” or any number of other actual injuries.
The upshot is that San Jose is saying they’re headed into the series against the Blues with no injuries, and if Carter is ready the Kings will be at essentially full strength. If anyone needs me I’ll be over here mentally willing the Kings to leave Gagné alone so he’s not the next Marc Savard.