Normally, in professional sports, an injury is followed by a very specific turn of events. A diagnosis and surgery, then a period of rest and rehab and then the player returns. It's the norm, and it's what we know, and you can pretty much set your watch to those steps in that order every single time.
So what is making Pascal Dupuis' knee injury be so different?
Dupuis was knocked out on December 23rd, when Ottawa's Marc Methot threw a hip check on Sidney Crosby and Crosby slid over and took out Dupuis (and almost chopped him in the face with his skate as they took a tumble). After the Christmas break, on December 27th, coach Dan Bylsma publicly announced that the diagnosis was in and it was a torn ACL. "The timetable is likely that he’ll be out for the remainder of the season, but we’ll see after the surgery in a couple weeks,"Bylsma said then.
Well, that will be six weeks ago tomorrow and Dupuis still has not had the surgery. It's not uncommon for a short wait, as swelling and other concerns might prohibit immediate surgery, but this delay seems excessive. There was a report that surgery was scheduled for February 12th (next Wednesday)
Now, from the Post-Gazette's Shelly Anderson we get this:
Kind of curious/encouraging: Pascal Dupuis ran lower-bowl steps before #Penguins practice. Brace on right knee. Having ACL surgery Feb. 12.— Shelly Anderson (@pgshelly) February 6, 2014
Makes you wonder what Dupuis is thinking about delaying surgery so long. Is (or was) he testing to see if he could play through this injury? Evgeni Malkin famously tried to lobby the Penguins to let him return for the playoffs in 2011 after having an ACL surgery of his own that February (the team, wisely, held him out) but could a quicker than expected return be in the cards for Dupuis- a known fitness freak?
Maybe, maybe not, but one thing for sure is that the post-injury period for Dupuis has been very different than the typical injury for an athlete. Perhaps an atypical return is also in the cards, or at least going to be attempted.
ACL transplant recipient and blogging friend Jesse Marshall points out that sometimes an exercise regimen is prescribed pre-surgery. But still, six weeks between injury and surgery- despite whatever swelling or other concerns- is definitely an unusual course of treatment for a high level professional athlete.