The New York Rangers and Neal Pionk are relieved that there was no vision loss for the defenseman after taking a high stick to his eye.
Pionk took a high stick to his eye from Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby during the second period of the team’s 6-5 loss on Sunday. At the time of the injury, the defenseman and team were quite concerned with how bad he may be hurt.
“[Crosby] just tried to lift my stick up and it got a little high. After that, it was just a rush of emotions,” said Pionk to Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, his right eye still significantly bruised and swollen. “Didn’t really know what was going on, and a little scary in the moment. But it’s getting better day by day.”
Pionk never lost vision, but the scary injury forced him to keep his eye closed while the team trainer evaluated his injury.
The 23-year-old was treated by Rangers trainer Jim Ramsey who glued the top of his right eyelid and also needed to give Pionk one stitch to close a small cut caused by the stick. The Ranger defenseman did not return to the game for “precautionary reasons.”
On Monday, Pionk met with an eye doctor who verified that his right eye was fine with no damage. Pionk was back on the ice Tuesday morning prior to the Rangers 2-1 over the Carolina Hurricanes but was held out of the contest out of precaution once again.
“It feels alright – a lot better than the last couple of days.” — Pionk pic.twitter.com/MpQ49vzRLE
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 19, 2019
Looks can be deceiving which is exactly what one would think looking at Pionk on Tuesday. Luckily for Pionk, a major injury was avoided and it’s likely he could be back in the lineup on Thursday when the Rangers host the Minnesota Wild.