Jason Zucker’s return game after missing 30 games from a core muscle surgery against his former team ended in a terrible way. After a first period that saw Zucker get a nice video tribute from the Wild and also record an assist on the Penguins’ first goal, he left the game injured going down in a heap.
This video isn’t as gruesome as the reverse view, which better showed Zucker’s legs twisting into the splits but it shows the damage done after taking a little cross-check from Kevin Fiala.
I don’t care what you think about Jason Zucker’s time in Pittsburgh. He has had an absolute horrible stretch of luck with injuries. Unreal.— 2022 Jim (@SportsingJim) April 1, 2022
Dangerous and unnecessary hit from Fiala. pic.twitter.com/t3CEXEAFP8
Zucker was down for a while but eventually got up and off the ice with assistance from teammates. He wasn’t putting weight on his right leg.
As they mentioned on NHL Network after the game last night, reading lips it clearly looked that the camera captured a trainer saying one word, “groin”, to Mike Sullivan on the bench as they were getting Zucker off the ice.
After the game Sullivan offered a brief update that wasn’t totally specific.
Mike added that he hopes it isn't anything too significant, "but we’ll have to wait and see as far as how he responds overnight here." https://t.co/aZAri2baTN— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) April 1, 2022
Sullivan doesn’t often share a lot of injury details, but the team usually does disclose injuries on a very long timetable, so it could perhaps be seen as a positive that there wasn’t an immediate prognosis given. If they would have had any news last night, it likely would have been very bad news.
Then again, it might not mean much either right after the game that there weren’t many specifics, but it is at least somewhat optimistic that the team still has hopes it isn’t “too significant” at this point.
There was also another peak at Zucker after the game, in the team’s victory celebration he was awarded the player of the game helmet by Evgeni Malkin. Zucker was at least not appearing on crutches and able to move around a little bit as he accepted the honors.
Teammates in sickness and in health pic.twitter.com/FNdtoXiy1P— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 1, 2022
Pittsburgh’s regular season finale is four weeks from today, with playoffs kicking off the next week. It remains to be seen just how detailed a public prognosis will be revealed as far as Zucker’s new injury timeline for his groin/leg. At this point, based on immediate post-game information, a worst case scenario may have been avoided, though it remains questionable just when Zucker will be able to play next.