On Feb. 14, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray said that defenseman Erik Karlsson’s season was “effectively over” after Matt Cooke’s skate sliced through 70 percent of his Achilles' tendon. (It even cut through the sub sock!)
The hope for many was that “if the surgery and rehab go well, Karlsson may even be back in time for training camp next season,” as Silver Sevens wrote.
Less than two months later, Karlsson was seen skating again.
Then he was declared 100 percent healthy.
On Thursday night, he returns to the Senators’ lineup at the Washington Capitals, three games before the end of the regular season.
Someone tell Samuel L. Jackson that we’ve found “Unbreakable.”
Again: This is was a severed Achilles tendon. This was a six-month recovery following surgery on Valentine’s Day.
From Ken Warren on Senators Extra, with Sandeep Kulkarnia, a physiotherapist at the Kanata Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Clinic, back in February:
Karlsson won’t be able to do anything at all. He could be wearing in a cast for as long as three months. “The range is usually six to 12 weeks, depending on how it heals,” said Kulkarnia.
Following that, the Senators defenceman will be required to go through an arduous recovery process to build up strength in the tendon and his leg muscles. “Usually it takes a good three months of rehab, but generally, athletes recover faster,” said Kulkarnia.
The impact is enormous here for the Senators, who still haven’t clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. He had 10 points in 14 games before his injury, after his star-making Norris Trophy campaign of 78 points in 81 games in the previous year.
Without Karlsson and Jason Spezza, also injured, the Senators dropped from fourth (2.96) to 27th (2.33) in the NHL for goals per game. Their power play went from 11th (18.2 percent) to 20th (16.6 percent).
We didn’t expect to see Erik Karlsson again until training camp. Instead, he skates in Game 45 of the regular season.
That’s incredible. That’s superhuman. That’s insane.
Not as insane as an NHL owner initiating a forensic investigation into an accidental injury, but still sorta crazy.
Oh, yeah, by the way: Matt Cooke vs. Erik Karlsson in Round 1 could happen.
Hockey’s the greatest …