BOSTON (CBS) — It has been less than a month since Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller took a puck to the throat in Toronto.
Though the injury bug often finds a way to bite Miller, he’s one of the toughest guys on the B’s roster. So really, it should be no surprise that he may return ahead of the five-week prognosis he first received when diagnosed with a cartilage injury to his larynx.
Miller is still waiting for that final green light from his doctors and the Bruins medical staff, but that return could come as early as next week. It’s been a somewhat frustrating road back, given Miller can do just about anything on the ice except play in games.
“Just time and protection, not letting it get hit until it heals,” he said of his recovery following Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton. “Once that’s done I’ll get the green light to play.”
He’s been practicing with the team the last few weeks, donning a special protective cover for his throat while it heals. That cover will be gone as soon as he returns to game action.
Miller opened up about the scary moments on the ice in the immediate aftermath of his injury. He was in front of the Boston net when the puck rode up his stick and hit him in the throat late in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. He knew something was wrong right away as he struggled to breathe, and things only got worse from there.
“The doctor said I was very fortunate it didn’t go the other way. The first 20-30 minutes I was having a really tough time breathing and my body went into a little bit of shock,” he recalled. “After the 30-minute window, the doctors said it could go bad or go good, and it started to get better. So I’m grateful for that. It could have been a lot worse, so I have to look at the bright side of things.”
X-rays were negative, but Miller ended up spending the night in a Toronto hospital just in case the swelling got to be too much and further affected his breathing.
Miller has had his share of injuries over the years, but said he’s never experienced anything like this in his 26 years of playing hockey.
“Kind of a fluke thing. So unfortunately that’s the way it is. Just use this time to get better, stay in shape and support the guys the best that I can,” he said. “It’s been frustrating. I’ve had a number of injuries back-to-back, but that’s just the way things have gone on this season.
“But I’ve been able to skate and work out and keep in shape for a while now and I feel pretty good,” he said. “Just waiting for that green light to get back in.”
Miller has been limited to just 11 games this season, recording a pair of assists and a plus-six rating.