Clarke MacArthur has only played four games in the past two seasons due to concussion issues, but the 31-year-old isn’t closing the door on getting back into the lineup. Rather, he’s marking early January as a possible return date.
Concern for Clarke MacArthur’s health, let alone his career, was at an all-time high when the veteran winger suffered a concussion during training camp.
MacArthur, 31, had only just returned to the Senators following a head injury suffered at the start the 2015-16 campaign and after the training camp concussion, which came on a dangerous hit from Patrick Sieloff and was the fourth head injury MacArthur had suffered in the past 18 months, there was belief that it could very well signal the end of his career.
However, MacArthur said shortly after the injury that his intention was to make a comeback, and after months on the sideline, MacArthur is starting to eye up a date. With the Senators set to hit the road on a three-game swing through California, MacArthur told the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch that he wants to start taking contact in practice in the near future and hopefully get back into the lineup by the time complete their bye-week to start the back half of the schedule.
“It’s hard to put a time on it because who knows what’s going to happen if I have to redo the test and with these tests I have to do,” MacArthur told Garrioch. “After the bye week would be ideal for me to get back in it full swing. That’s what I’m shooting for.”
MacArthur did admit, though, that he’s not yet 100 percent healthy. That said, he remained confident he would play this season.
One of the driving factors behind his interest in returning to the ice, MacArhtur told Garrioch, is that he hasn’t yet contributed to the team on the five-year, $23.25-million extension he inked ahead of the 2014-15 season, playing only four games as part of the deal. Over the course of his career, MacArthur has notched 133 goals and 304 points, and he has 40 goals and 91 points in 145 games as a Senator.
He told Garrioch he wants to “come back and earn (his) money,” saying that his time on the sideline under the new deal has been something he’s had a tough time dealing with.
“I haven’t been able to fulfill anything in this contract I’ve signed, and that’s a kind of cloud over top of me,” MacArthur told Garrioch.
And even though it will be promising to see MacArthur make a return, there are those who will consider his return foolish, especially in terms of his long-term health. With what’s known about concussions and the lingering effects repeated head injuries can have, MacArthur could potentially be risking problems in the future in the same way others, such as Marc Savard and Johan Franzen, with similar concussion histories have had to deal with.
MacArthur said he would keep the opinions he’s gotten from doctors to himself, and told Garrioch the decision, at the end of the day, comes down to him. That is so long as he can get cleared to play.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.