Archive for the ‘Injuries’ Category

Claude Giroux

Cumberland, Ontario is a small town just east of Ottawa with the distinction of being home to the Camelot Golf and Country Club, an arena with water that smells like rotten eggs, and not much else. It’s also where Claude Giroux lacerated the extensor tendons in his right index finger in a freak exploding golf club incident.

Giroux was at Camelot preparing for the Ottawa Sun Scramble golf tournament, and apparently on a completely normal shot with a completely normal club the shaft of the club splintered, sending shards into his right index finger and lacerating the extensor tendons.

Oh really.

That’s an interesting injury seeing as how you hold a golf club in your palm, a place where you won’t find any extensor tendons. Those are on the backs of your fingers and hand. Giroux’s father Raymond told Le Droit that when his club splintered a piece flew up in the air and came down on his finger, causing the injury.

Oh really.

Regardless of what actually happened (a little smashy-smash of the old clubberoo?), extensor tendon injuries are fairly common and generally require surgery. Without an extensor tendon Giroux would be able to grip a hockey stick (or golf club) but straightening his fingers out to let go would be tricky.

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Here's Bergeron, clearly not suffering at all.

Here’s Bergeron clearly not suffering at all.

Teams are always cagey about injuries during the playoffs, but Boston took it to entirely new heights this year when they revealed that Patrice Bergeron had a body injury. Not upper body, not lower body, just body. The injury turned out to be multiple upper body injuries (a broken rib, torn cartilage, a separated shoulder, and a pneumothorax) none of which could be considered minimal by any standards, and none of which prevented him from finishing the series.

Cartilage! Ribs!

The fun started in game four when Bergeron tore cartilage in his chest on a check from Michael Frolik. He then left game five in the second period, due to what was later revealed was a broken rib and concerns for a spleen inury. The cartilage in your chest has an important job, namely holding your ribs onto your sternum. The cartilage is highlighted in red below to point out just how heinous the pain is when you tear it. Generally people with costochondral injuries (costo = rib, chondral = pertaining to cartilage) sit very still, breathe very shallowly, and try not to do anything that would move their chest in any way. Try that. It’s impossible. What do you do for the injury? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. You wait it out, you take pain pills, and you suffer.

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In the battle between chronic shoulder dislocation and cup final, cup final wins every time.

In the battle between chronic shoulder dislocation and cup final, cup final wins every time.

The first thing that should come to mind when anyone mentions chronic shoulder dislocations is Mel Gibson throwing himself against a wall after escaping from a straitjacket in Lethal Weapon 2. TOTALLY REALISTIC (not really). While Nathan Horton hasn’t escaped from a straitjacket and nobody has seen him launching himself into walls, the Bruins have admitted he has a “chronic shoulder issue.”

Horton’s problems began April 20th when a fight with Jarome Iginla ended with him skating off holding his left arm awkwardly. The fight itself wasn’t much to see – A few punches, and Iginla dumped Horton to the ice. They were holding each other’s jerseys when he went down, which could explain the injury – the weight of one’s body on an outstretched arm is a great way to dislocate a shoulder. It’s also a great way to suffer a shoulder subluxation, a similar injury in which the shoulder comes partway out of the socket, and pops back in. The problem of course is that once you’ve had one injury in which you’ve dislocated (or subluxed) your shoulder, you’re very likely to do it again. The other problem is that nonsurgical management isn’t a great solution for someone who needs a working shoulder and uses it for hockey things like slamming into people and taking shots. The other other problem is if you’re a UFA you probably don’t have time for a six month recovery unless you’ve kicked so much playoff ass that your team can’t help but re-sign you.

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Valtteri Filppula enjoys his last few moments with an intact ankle as Andrew Shaw plots his devious slewfoot.

Valtteri Filppula enjoys his last few moments with an intact ankle as Andrew Shaw plots his devious slewfoot.

For a move that’s worth a match penalty and so inherently dangerous, it’s amazing how often a slewfoot happens. What’s more amazing is how often players get away with it. Somehow the slewfoot is also one of the most-defended moves, with someone always willing to loudly claim it was just a hockey play, no matter how blatant. This year’s playoffs have already had their share of slewfoots (slewfeet?), all of which have somehow avoided anything more than a minor penalty.

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I can’t recommend you watch this short documentary enough. It’s tough to get through – like really tough – but you won’t regret doing so. The payoff and message is there.

Here’s how ESPN describes it:

The latest film is Cutthroat, by award-winning director Steven Cantor. Clint Malarchuk was famous for being an NHL goalie, but he would go down in hockey history for suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of sports when an opposing player’s skate severed his carotid artery. This story covers Malarchuk’s miraculous physical recovery from the injury as well as the long and grueling emotional recuperation that took two decades and included an eventual stay in a mental hospital for PTSD treatment. [Warning: This film contains graphic footage of the injury.]

Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators - Game Four

A couple months ago Jason Spezza was recovering from back surgery when news came out that he had suffered a setback. Well actually, news came out that “his recovery was talking longer than expected.”

That’s because he messed up his MCL in rehab, which means he was likely braced up in playoffs, which is pretty crazy when you consider his back was still on the mend too. Honestly, what would the hat trick of terrible body parts to have injured as a hockey player be (brain excluded)? Knee, back and…shoulder? Foot? Hip? Either way, he’s almost there.

The news isn’t all bad though:

He should still get in a relatively full summer of training. Nobody gets started this soon anyway.

A bloodied but awake Lars Eller leaves the Bell Centre via stretcher

A bloodied Lars Eller leaves the Bell Centre via stretcher

 

The first round of the playoffs are grinding along towards completion, and already there are more players done for the season than you can count on one hand. A lot of these aren’t your typical playoff injuries either – this year isn’t the usual rash of “Oh he’s so brave, he played through a broken finger/sore back/whatever!” This year we’ve got broken faces, missing teeth, and starting goaltenders done for the duration. And there’s still three more rounds to go. For some teams, anyway.

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