Rushing young injured players

Last week, James Reimer’s agent Ray Petkau sent out the following tweet in response to a question asked by a frequent commenter of the Barilkosphere, @LeafErikson:

Wait, what do you mean “since April”?

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At the end of the season, as the Leafs were cleaning out their lockers and answering to the media for the team’s torturous second half, Reimer revealed what his second injury from last season was.

From the National Post:

He missed 18 games with what was eventually revealed to be a concussion after that game in Montreal. His season ended prematurely after a second injury on March 23, but after visiting a specialist in Montreal over the weekend, Reimer said his season-ending injury was not actually related to his earlier concussion, as once thought.

“He said that it was pretty much neck-related,” Reimer said. “So it’s something that’s really fix-able. And so, hopefully, there should be no problems going forward.”

James Reimer’s injury history is not exactly a secret, particularly relating to concussions. Obviously, ‘symptom-free’ could mean anything, but the way Petkau’s tweet was phrased was that he was experiencing symptoms for a time outside of April. Reimer missed four games in March and three in April.

Did James Reimer play through a concussion?

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This wouldn’t be the only case of Leafs doctors ignoring medical advice in the past couple of weeks. When we were discussing Morgan Rielly, Leafs director of scouting Dave Morrison told me that with ACL injuries, “they go in and operate and it’s not a big deal”.

I’m no doctor, but Jo Innes with Backhand Shelf is, and, well, it appears that ACL injuries are a lot more complex than that.

Via email:

There’s such a thing as coming back too soon before it’s healed. They tunnel through the bone and thread the graft in. If you’re moving that graft around too much too early (specifically stretching it) you can do crazy shit like widen out those tunnels they drill. And we all know hockey players don’t always recuperate as long as they should.

Rielly will get a substantial look at prospect camp next week, and will probably play close to 30 minutes a game with Moose Jaw this upcoming season. I don’t know the Rielly situation too well, but Jo’s point about young players worries me, and you know the Leafs are going to push him forward to some degree.

I can say that Rielly looked very good in his only televised contests this year against Edmonton in the WHL Eastern Finals.

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