Stuart to travel with team to Philly
As expected of a player suffering an infection so serious he needed a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter line to deliver antibiotics to his heart, Mark Stuart once thought there was no chance of playing in Round 2. Yet he participated yesterday in his first full morning skate with his teammates at TD Garden, still hopeful he’ll be in the lineup this series.
“I’m definitely hopeful,’’ Stuart said. “I’m always hopeful that I’m going to get back in there. It’s my job to get in shape. The coaches are helping me out with that. Then it’s up to the coaches to make the decision whether to put me in the lineup. I realize with where I’m at now that it doesn’t matter that I was playing this season. It’s the playoffs. Guys are playing well. You’ve got to earn your spot. You’ve got to earn your minutes. The only thing I can do is show them I’m in shape and I’m working hard in practice.’’
Doctors wanted Stuart, who suffered complications following pinkie surgery, to wear a PICC line for six weeks. No skating. Not even sweating. But the latest remedy has Stuart cleared for workouts and skating while wearing a temporary device known as an IV port in his left arm that delivers antibiotics.
So far, so good.
“We’ll give this a shot,’’ Stuart said. “It’s a different treatment. It’s still giving the medication to my body. It’s just a matter of whether my veins can hold up. They have so far. So it’s good to go right now.’’
During on-ice workouts, Stuart has been covering the IV port with a pad and wrapping it with tape.
If Stuart were to play, he would replace the device after the game. Stuart’s treatments will conclude May 25.
Stuart last played April 1. For three weeks, he was ordered not to even break a sweat for fear of another infection. However, Stuart thinks his conditioning isn’t far off.
“I’m feeling good,’’ he said. “Just trying to get my lungs and my legs back. You’ve got to be careful. Obviously you want to get in as soon as possible. But in order to be effective, I need to play a high-energy game and a physical game. I’m going to need my legs and my lungs to do that. You have to wait until you’re ready enough to help the team. You go on too soon, you might be hurting the team. Just a matter of getting my legs.’’
Stuart will travel to Philadelphia tomorrow. Although Game 3 might be unlikely, Stuart could return Friday.
“We’re hoping for the best right now,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “Things are obviously looking more on the positive side. But we’ll stay realistic here and take it day by day. Hopefully he’ll be back soon. If he is, it will be a good help for our hockey club.’’
“This one hit me the most, definitely,’’ Sturm said. “It was just unexpected. Too fast after I came back [from the left knee injury]. And it’s the playoffs, too. You always want to play in the playoffs. That’s why you play.’’
Sturm said he was injured when he pushed off to throw a check on Matt Carle on the opening shift of Game 1. Even before he landed, Sturm knew what he had done.
“It definitely got stuck,’’ said Sturm. “My knee just went inside and my toe was in the same position as before, and it twisted.’’
Sturm must wait for swelling to reduce and for his MCL to heal before he undergoes surgery, which is scheduled in 4-6 weeks. Doctors Peter Asnis and Thomas Gill, who repaired his left knee at Massachusetts General Hospital Jan. 13, 2009, will be called upon once more to fix his right knee.
With recovery and rehabilitation pegged at six months, Sturm is not expected to start 2010-11, the last year of his contract, on time.
“I’m still speechless, probably,’’ Sturm said. “After the ACL from last year, I just never thought there was going to be another injury like this. It’s a tough one. But I always came back from big injuries and I’m going to do it again.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.