Travis Hamonic was supposed to miss 4-6 weeks with what was suspected to be a broken hand. After eight days on the sideline, though, he’s planning to make his return.
Travis Hamonic either has steel bones, superhuman healing ability or the world’s greatest pain threshold, because little more than a week after the New York Islanders announced the defender would be out for at least a month with an upper-body injury, he’s returning to the lineup.
Originally, Hamonic was expected to miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks with what was said to be a broken hand, but, according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple, Islanders coach Jack Capuano said that Hamonic, 26, has said he feels comfortable enough to try to play Monday night, so play Monday night he will. However, don’t expect Hamonic to factor in all that much on the offensive side of things.
According to Islanders’ play-by-play voice Brendan Burke, Hamonic’s injury has to do with his bottom hand, which means he “may not be able to shoot.”
For Hamonic to return this soon might sound equal parts bizarre and insane, but it no doubt comes in part because of the recent loss of Dennis Seidenberg, who is out indefinitely with what’s been reported to be a broken jaw. With Seidenberg out, the options on the back end are limited, so Hamonic draws in and attempts to play through injury.
Chances are that, even with Hamonic in the lineup, he plays a more limited role than he’s used to. Hamonic has averaged nearly 20 minutes per game in the 12 outings he’s played in thus far, and three of those games have been 22-plus minute performances. It’s unlikely he skates anywhere near that much during Monday’s game, especially as Capuano will likely want to test out how Hamonic feels in game action before diving in any deeper.
The best-case scenario, of course, would be Hamonic coming back into the lineup and playing like there’s nothing ailing him at all. That said, the worst-case scenarios might leave some wondering why the Islanders are even risking it.
If Hamonic takes another slash on the hand or blocks another shot, which is what injured him in the first place, there would be concern about what it could mean for any subsequent recovery time. The prospect of losing Hamonic for 4-6 weeks was bad enough, but if the injury is furthered and that timeline grows, it could be catastrophic for an Islanders team that is looking for any sign of hope.
The Islanders have struggled mightily this season defensively and that hasn’t been helped by Hamonic’s absence, although it’s been rather brief, all things considered. Through 15 games, New York is averaging three goals against per outing, and only six teams have fared worse thus far. As if that’s not bad enough, the Islanders sit only one point out of the Eastern Conference basement and are already falling well behind in the chase for a divisional playoff spot.
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