January 05 2012 11:11PM
The Edmonton Oilers will have to get along without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rest of January because of a shoulder injury. I can't imagine the news will get any better when Ryan Whitney meets with team medical staff in Dallas to discuss his difficult comeback from ankle surgery.
With all the trouble Whitney has had coming back from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right ankle, the Oilers defenseman met with the specialist who performed his procedure in Charlotte this week to try to get some answers as to why he's still experiencing so much pain.
My understanding is one distinct possibility is that Whitney re-injured himself four games into his comeback when he took an awkward fall against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place Oct. 25.
The fall resulted in a sprained right knee that put Whitney back on the shelf for 13 games. It might also have damaged his right ankle or foot – not necessarily the tendon that was repaired but perhaps a ligament or other soft tissue. Until the results of an MRI are interpreted by team medical staff, it's too early to say for certain.
MORE TIME NEEDED?
If that's indeed the case, it seems obvious to me the only option would seem to be to keep Whitney, who has missed Edmonton's last six games, out of action until the pain that's clearly impacted his game subsides and any further damage is allowed to heal completely..
With the Oilers hitting the halfway mark in the schedule when they wrap up their road trip against the Stars Saturday, Whitney has played in just 17 games so far this season. It's been more than obvious that he hasn't been skating or moving like he did prior to the injury.
Before this road trip began, it was determined Whitney had tendinitis in the ankle. Rest, these last six games, was the course of action decided upon. If that condition has been complicated by further damage to a ligament in the foot, it's a safe bet Whitney will be in for more of the same. Likely a lot more.
Bottom line, there's a distinct possibility the Oilers will not only be without their best forward for the rest of the month, but that Nugent-Hopkins will have company in Whitney. For how long exactly, we don't know yet.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.