Coach Mike Sullivan was murky as ever with his injury update on Evgeni Malkin. Sullivan only deemed the injury as “longer term” which, for him, is the classification above “day-to-day”. However, more details and reports are beginning to emerge to help fill in the gaps of Sullivan’s typically vague updates.
Malkin suffered a soft tissue injury to his leg. Expected to be out at least a month.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) October 7, 2019
We’re not doctors, but play one on the internet, so did a little research on just exactly what a “soft tissue injury” is. You may remember a few years ago Olli Maatta suffered one when he was checked into the open door of the bench area, but beyond that it feels like an injury that isn’t totally common in the NHL. The Physio Therapy Clinics defines it as:
Soft tissue injuries (STI) are when trauma or overuse occurs to muscles, tendons or ligaments. Most soft tissue injuries are the result of a sudden unexpected or uncontrolled movement like stepping awkwardly off a curb and rolling over your ankle. These are injuries our Physiotherapists see every day at our Edinburgh physiotherapy and sports injury clinics. However, soft tissue damage can also occur from excessive overuse or chronically fatigued structures, especially muscles and tendons. For example, if you were to do a long run when already fatigued (from a previous run or exercise), then it is possible to cause trauma or a strain to key running musculoskeletal structures like your calf muscles or achilles tendons
Here’s a bit more info, since it’s anatomy class day on PensBurgh. Take notes, there will be a pop quiz on Friday..
There are three levels or grades of severity:
Grade 1 strain or sprain (mild)
Minimal over-stretching. Possible minor microscopic tearing of fibres
Mild tenderness and minimal swelling
Grade 2 strain or sprain (moderate)
Partial tear of fibres
Moderate pain, tenderness and swelling
Unable to apply loading to injured area without pain
Grade 3 strain or sprain (severe)
Complete rupture of structure
Significant pain and swelling
Inability to use the injured structure
Instability of the affected joint
And now the big question that is all we really care about, all this mumbo jumbo aside - how long will it take to get back?
How long will it take to recover from a soft tissue injury?
The recovery time from grade 1 soft tissue injuries in one to two weeks and three to four weeks for a grade 2. Grade three soft tissue injuries require immediate assessment and treatment, with much longer recovery times. Recovery times can also depend on your age, general health and occupation. If you are not sure of the nature or extent of your injury, contact an experienced Specialist Physiotherapist for advice.
Based on Dreger’s reporting, it would seem like Malkin may have a Grade 2 injury. Considering Malkin was at the rink today and fooled around doing a bit of stickhandling prior to practice, one would think he hasn’t suffered a terribly severe grade of strain/sprain.
So a Grade 2-ish injury would make for about 3-4 weeks to heal and then a little more time to get back into hockey shape and get his overall fitness up to the level to be ready to return to the lineup. Given that Malkin is in excellent health and shape and has access to world class medical treatment, he’s probably well on his way for the healing process even if the road to recovery will be somewhat of a lengthy one to go down. Dreger saying “at least” a month certainly means there’s at at least moderate to perhaps severe damage done.
But, given the possibilities, that might not quite so bad right now if Malkin has avoided the major damage of a serious Grade 3 type of strain. While he’s surely suffered some damage, perhaps in about a month or so with good healing/rehab we could be getting #71 back on the ice again.