Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Hockey Life: Working his way back

In case you missed it, there was an update on last week's column that told of Colin having the cast removed from his fractured right ankle during Monday's visit. If everything went OK, we had considered having him skate that night, just to see how it felt. well, one sentence from the orthopaedist changed those plans.

"No hard sports activity for two weeks," he said.

After watching Colin walk, it was very easy to appreciate the doctor's wisdom. After having the muscles around his ankle and foot locked into place for a month, they were pretty stiff. Even with the cast removed, he walked -- for a few days -- like he was still wearing it.During the course of the week, though, after walking around school and taking some shots out back, the limp was a little less pronounced.

A few weeks ago, Colin was invited to take part, serving as a shooter,  in a goalie clinic run by his Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning coaches. It would be a low-key return to the ice. No quick starts. No sudden stops. No, it would just be getting back on the ice.

So, less than a week after having the cast removed, Colin was back in his skates and on the ice. Sure, he looked rusty in the first few minutes. Tentative, too. That's understandable. By the end of the hourlong session, however, we could tell that his comfort level was growing.

Even better, he had very little pain and no swelling.

This week, we'll increase his activity level. We'll take some walks. He'll skate for an hour at least once, maybe twice this week. We have plans, too, to attend another goalie clinic on Saturday. Each activity will test the ankle. How it responds will determine the next step he'll take.

Also on Saturday, the Pinellas P.A.L. Stars squirt-peewee team that Colin captains plays its final game of the rec-league season. To his credit, he's hoping his ankle feels good enough to play. Maybe, it's only a shift or two. Maybe it's just a period. After all, it'll be close to the two weeks. Again, we'll see how he and his ankle feels.

From what I've seen over the past five weeks, Colin doesn't have to prove how tough he is to me. I'd rather see him get ready for May tryouts and regain trust in his ankle and restore his wind, rather than risking anything for a few 45-second shifts.

Bottom line, it's his call.

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