Zach Parise (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Zach Parise has been cleared for the World Cup and his most recent MRI “looked fantastic.” Parise, 32, is recovering from a herniated disk that cost him the final game of the regular season and all six playoff games.
The past season came to a rather unceremonious close for Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise. He was getting prepared for the post-season when a nagging back injury became so bad he began to lose feeling in his leg and foot.
Parise, 32, would end up out of action on the very last game of the regular season following a hit from San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture. The hit tweaked something and made the injury the worst it had been, and as the Wild approached their first-round meeting with the Dallas Stars, Parise found himself watching from the sideline.
However, with the World Cup approaching, Parise said his health is starting to look up and he’s been given the go-ahead to play at the tournament — a positive sign given his participation was somewhat in question due to his injury.
“I feel really good,” Parise told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo on KFAN. “All the rehab went and is going well. I’m happy with the progress. The doctors were really happy today…I’m really happy with it. I’m good to go.”
Parise said his MRI “looked fantastic” and that he isn’t in a place where one hit could put him back on the shelf. At least, no more than any other player. Parise said he’s “glad we can hopefully move on” from the injury, and told Russo he’s not worried about the injury keeping him off the ice. Quite the opposite, actually, as Parise said he feels better when he’s playing or practicing rather than nursing his injury.
That’s great news for Team USA’s chances at the World Cup and even better news for the Wild, who no doubt missed their star forward during the post-season and hoping Parise can turn in his first full campaign with the club since his first season in Minnesota in 2012-13.
Parise will come into the campaign looking to build off a 25-goal, 53-point season. Considering he played a large portion of the season fighting such a serious ailment, it wouldn’t be shocking if a fully healthy Parise once again cracked the 30-goal, 60-point mark for the Wild. There’s an even greater chance of that if Parise doesn’t let fear of another injury hamper his play, and it doesn’t appear he will.
“I’m not concerned about taking a hit and [I’m not] worried it’s going to happen again,” Parise told Russo. “If it happens, it happens. But I’m not concerned that because it already happened that it’s going to happen again.”
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.