BOSTON (CBS) — For mere mortals, a torn ACL and MCL suffered on Dec. 27 would by necessity mean that a hockey player’s season is over. With the surgery and the recovery time, a return to the ice before September would be out of the question — and even then, a nine-month recovery would still be considered aggressive.
Yet Dennis Seidenberg apparently is no mere mortal.
The defenseman skated this week on the Bruins’ practice ice, according to the Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy.
Seidenberg reportedly took to the ice on Tuesday, the first time he’s skated since suffering the injury.
“It’s believed he skated for about 15 minutes, and it’s not known just how well his knee held up, but it is a noteworthy milestone in his rehabilitation,” Conroy wrote.
Seidenberg suffered the injury in somewhat gruesome fashion, as then-Senator Cory Conacher crashed into Seidenberg’s lower half behind the Boston net late in the third period of a 5-0 Boston victory. Seidenberg screamed in pain on the ice before getting back on his feet and skating to the bench.
In past postseasons, head coach Claude Julien has paired Seidenberg with Zdeno Chara, forming a shutdown pairing that is at times impenetrable against opposing team’s top lines. Because of that, and because the Bruins’ defense has been a bit shaky from skaters not named Zdeno, Johnny and Kevan, it’s likely enticing for the Bruins to hope that Seidenberg may be able to rejoin the roster at some point during a long postseason run.
Yet such a rushed return would be incredibly risky. While ACL/MCL recovery time has been shortened tremendously in recent years, it’s still rare — if not unheard of — to see an athlete return to playing just five months or so after suffering the injury. Considering playoff hockey is some of the most intense competition in all of sports, asking Seidenberg to play at anything less than 100 percent strength in his knee could be a very bad idea.
Yet Seidenberg has proven time and time again that he’s tougher than most, and neither Peter Chiarelli or Cam Neely have denied the possibility that No. 44 could return this season.
The idea of Seidenberg being able to play in a Stanley Cup run remains an ever-enticing one for the Bruins. The step he took on Tuesday keeps that possibility alive.