Matt Read was originally expected to be out of the Philadelphia Flyers‘ lineup for approximately six weeks when he suffered a rib cage injury two weeks ago. So, his early return against the Pittsburgh Penguins today likely means that a number of factors came into play.
The situation the Flyers find themselves in during this shortened-season means that they are fighting for a playoff berth in the midst of a compressed schedule. After having played an exorbitant number of games (24) to this point, Peter Laviolette’s squad only has one-half of their schedule left to play out. If his team had managed to earn more than 23 points to-date, their plight wouldn’t be so urgent. Therefore, it’s likely that Read returned before he was fully healthy in order to reinforce the orange and black ranks.
With all due reverence to the medial profession, maybe the professionals involved in Read’s initial diagnosis got it wrong. Due to a variety of privacy laws (and with tongue planted fully in cheek) his test results weren’t posted through social media, which means that the sports’ starved public doesn’t actually know what his rib cage looked like after he was hurt.
On a more serious note: This 26-year-old man is a tremendously fit athlete. The age element surely helped to aid in his recovery. Younger bodies generally bounce back from injury more quickly than older National Hockey League men can during any given season.
Regardless of what Read’s medical records were, or are, the Flyers seem to have finally caught a break on the injury front. This second-year forward has been one of the best players on the team since he first arrived on the Philadelphia scene in the fall of 2011.
The 0.72 points-per-game that Read has averaged through his first 18 games this season is above last year’s solid mark (0.59). Plus, the same positive energy that he’s carried to the ice since he started his NHL career continues to energize the lineup.
The site of a “healthy” number 24 truly is unexpectedly good news.