February 12 2013 01:30PM
Eventually "mild" is going to have to be struck from the Maple Leafs' employees lexicon:
Injury update: James Reimer sustained a mild (MCL) knee strain & is expected to be out for a minimum of one week #Leafs— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) February 12, 2013
That's the update on James Reimer from the team. Reimer of course left the Leafs game against the Flyers last night after appearing to tweak his knee moving right to left in the crease. This is good news if you take the Maple Leafs at their word, but given the setbacks for Jake Gardiner earlier in the season, the "minimum of one week" may be stretching a definition.
The Leafs not taking the injuries of their young players seriously is nothing new. Last season, Joe Colborne played through a wrist injury and had off-season surgery. James Reimer played 23 games before sitting out the rest of the season, and in June, his agent said he had been symptom free "since April". Earlier this season, Nazem Kadri played through a concussion. Jake Gardiner did too. Scouting director Dave Morrison was adamant that an ACL is something you can just go in and operate on, and it's not a concern for a player like Morgan Rielly who they drafted after he missed nearly a full season with Moose Jaw.
James Reimer is an important part to the Leafs, but he's had an injury-plagued first few seasons as an NHLer. They can't shut him down, but at least you hope the team is really going to take its time. The team doesn't have a good recent history as far as keeping young players healthy and being honest about their injuries before sending them back into the grind.
So when the Leafs say "minimum one week" you want to be able to say "make it two". I'm not a doctor, but it seems to me the team needs to stop using words like "mild" to describe injuries that have had noticeable effects on player performances, particularly Colborne and Gardiner. With Reimer's history, I hope he's not thrown into the same mix.