Last week, the New York Rangers were dealing with the fact that their star player, forward Rick Nash, hadn’t been seen around the team since the concussion he suffered on October 8 at the hands of San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart. From the moment he was diagnosed as concussed, the organization began fearing just how long he’d be out.
The team received an update today, and for the most part its all good news.
“[I am] symptom-free from the injury,” he said via NHL.com. “Just [need to] push myself more and more and see if any symptoms come back from it. But so far it’s been good.”
This is huge news for the Rangers. Last week, the only update received regarding Nash was that he was undergoing intermittent physical activity, which didn’t exactly imply his recovery was moving swiftly. To hear now that he’s no longer feeling the symptoms of the head-shot he received over a month ago has to be a big relief.
Though its always great to hear a player isn’t feeling the ill-effects of a concussion, the news was tempered by the fact that Nash isn’t quite ready to return just yet. He’s reportedly skated for four straight days, but is being very cautious in evaluating his return timetable.
“When you look at it, New York has invested a lot in me and I’ve invested a lot in them,” he said. “I think even if we were losing it would be stupid to rush back. It’s a long-term contract and we want to make sure I come back at 110 percent and ready to play.”
This is a wise call by Nash. Even if a player is symptom-free, a concussion isn’t an injury you want to rush back from. The difference between practice and live games is night and day, and who knows how he’ll feel the second he gets his first hit. Brain injuries have to be monitored very carefully, and since this is his second concussion received this year — the first coming last season after a hit from Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic — an early return could be a career risk.
On the bright side, the fact that Nash could use the words “even if we were losing” has to be a positive in the Big Apple. Despite the team’s slow start, new coach Alain Vigneault has his club in the middle of a hot streak, with the team winning six of their last seven.
Who knows, perhaps the recent turnaround for New York helped Nash’s headaches go away, along with the entire Rangers fan base.