Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Hockey Life: One more day?

Exactly one month ago today, Colin's travel hockey season got shut down when he fractured a bone in his right ankle. Since then, he has learned how to use crutches, used the school's elevator and, as you can plainly see, added a ton of signatures to the cast.

Well, in about 24 hours from now, we'll learn whether the fracture has healed enough to remove the cast and allow him to avoid using a walking boot. Hopefully, this doesn't jinx anything, but I believe he will be good to go, so to speak, once we leave the orthopaedist's office. To me, all signs point that way.

He has spent the past two Saturday afternoons on the bench at his Pinellas P.A.L. Stars games, making his way from the stands back to the ice. He's taken quite a few shots out back, planting hard on his right foot. We've even taken a few walks. And, yesterday, while hounding the New Jersey Devils, he ran -- without pain -- to chase some of the players.

Should the cast come off, he'll skate for the first time in a month at the Stars' practice tomorrow night. Not in full gear and certainly not at top speed. Instead, it'll be to see how it feels and, more importantly, how it responds Tuesday to the activity. If all goes well, I'll have him skate Wednesday, this time a little harder. Another test, if he progresses, could come Friday night.

The first big test will be deciding whether to play in a game for the Stars on Saturday. I won't expect him to go as hard as he can, but we'll see what he does. If not then, the Stars close out the rec season on March 29.

Between then, he has been invited to help his two Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning coaches at their goalie clinic. No, he's not making the switch, but they need players to take shots on the kids crazy enough to man the pipes. Beyond the ice time -- a low-key way to work his way back -- these sessions will let him work on his shots.

Honestly, we're in no rush to get him back for the final two games of this rec season. If he can play, that's great. If he can't, there's little we can do. More than likely, especially as the doctor bills roll in, he'll skip the spring travel season.

Instead, we'll turn our attention to May, when tryouts, for more than the fall travel season, are expected to take place. By then, the ankle should be fully healed, he will have regained his wind and he believes he has something to prove. Until then, all we can do is wait.

Update, March 17: The cast came off and will stay off. Doctor advised to take it easy for a bit, so we're delaying a return to ice.

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