Mika Zibanejad suffered an upper-body injury two weeks ago, one that the New York Rangers have been unwilling to discuss.
At first glance, the collision looked like it might have been a possible concussion; but David Quinn dismissed that idea with the upper-body injury announcement.
He has been listed as day-to-day throughout these last two weeks.
The team’s No. 1 center did appear on the ice a few times wearing a red non-contact jersey, but has yet to participate in a full practice since the injury.
From bad to worse
Adding more fuel to the speculation fire was what occurred late last week.
On Friday, Zibanejad canceled a scheduled event signing that was scheduled for Monday night in New York City. The reason for the cancellation, coming from the PR company helping to run the event, stated that Mika wanted to focus on healing and getting back to 100 percent.
It was, without a doubt, yet another vague statement regarding his injury.
Zibanejad did not practice with the team when the Rangers held an open practice at Lasker Rink in Central Park on Saturday afternoon.
On Monday afternoon following practice, Rangers beat writer Vince A. Mercogliano elaborated on the situation.
“Mika won’t make the Florida trip, so he’s out for the week. (Next three games.) David Quinn says they want to make sure he’s fully good to go before they reinsert him- with no risk for setbacks.”
Quinn continued on with the status quo, per Mercogliano.
It’s “not a setback,” but added, “He’s putting himself in a position … so when he does come back, we’re not going do what we just went through where he gets out there and he has to get taken off the ice.”
When the team takes on the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night, it will be the seventh-straight game Zibanejad has missed with no real explanation.
The practice of declaring injuries via the upper or lower body is justified, but considering past injuries Zibanejad has suffered, the seriousness of what’s in doubt must be considered.
There are only so many areas “upper-body” can be attributed to. The head, neck, shoulder or perhaps a stinger (pinched nerve) all fall under the category.
The Rangers are probably being overprotective of their star center. That part probably is the right way to go. The team is 4-2 in there last six games, which is not a bad stretch, especially when you look at some of the teams they have beaten.
At the end of the day, the health of Zibanejad is of the utmost importance.
The team, with a healthy Zibanejad, should be able to score more goals, play a more complete game and, of course, get some more wins.
Once Zibanejad is cleared for full contact in practice, he will need one or maybe two sessions before he would be considered game-ready. Following Tuesday’s game against Pittsburgh, the Rangers head to Florida for games Thursday against Tampa Bay and Saturday against the Panthers.
They don’t have another game until next Wednesday when they host the Washington Capitals. Should all go well, and Mika indeed can practice, Wednesday could be a potential date to return.
We will have to wait until next Monday to see if he can get back on the ice or will this mysterious injury continues to haunt the team.