Saturday, 17 December 2016

Maybe He Needs More Spinach?

In a rather strange occurrence, it was announced that Boston sniper David Pastrnak would miss the next few games as he was going to miss the next few games after undergoing surgery on Friday Newton Wellesley Hospital just outside Boston. Rarely do superstitious hockey players change their routine when things are rolling along in their favor, and one could say that Pastrnak has been flying high all season as the Czech forward would have entered play on the weekend as the second-leading goal-scorer in the NHL. Instead, Pastrnak will be sidelined for a few games after having his "Popeye's elbow" on his right arm fixed by Dr. Matthew Liebman.

For those that are wondering, the exact term for Pastrnak's injury is the removal of an olecranon bursa. The olecranon is the pointy tip on the elbow joint and the bursa is the thin sac of fluid that sits between this tip and the skin which allows the skin to move over the bone without being caught or torn. The sac contains very little fluid normally, and is often found laying flat between the bone and skin. When inflamed or irritated, however, the sac fills with fluid as the body works to repair itself. The swelling that occurs to cause the bursa is most often a result from trauma to the elbow, but pain usually is found with an infected bursa and surgery is usually needed to remove the bursa before the infection spreads. The swelling, however, is how it got its more famous name of "Popeye's elbow" as seen above on the cartoon character's image.

I can assure you that I'm not Dr. Matthew Liebman, so I can't accurately tell you whether or not the bursa on Pastrnak's elbow was caused by an infection. The injury is fairly common, though, and Boston centerman David Backes actually had the same treatment done for his elbow in October. My guess is that the physical nature of hockey caused the bursas to form for both Pastrnak and Backes as repeated mini-traumas or one big trauma - a fall to the ice or crash into the boards - caused the injuries to occur. Like a concussion, though, bursas can and do occur more easily for those that have previously suffered the injury, so this might not be the last time these two Bruins visit Dr. Liebman.

"David underwent a successful removal of the olecranon bursa from his right elbow on Friday, December 16 at Newton Wellesley Hospital by Dr. Matthew Liebman," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said in a statement this morning. "He will likely be unavailable for the games on Sunday and Tuesday. His condition will be re-assessed on a day-to-day basis."

The Bruins host the Kings on Sunday and the Islanders on Tuesday before heading out on the road before visiting the Panthers and Hurricanes on Thursday and Friday, respectively, prior to the Christmas break. I assume that the Bruins will keep Pastrnak off the ice for the next week, but he is chasing Sidney Crosby in the goal-scoring trace so perhaps we'll see him back. Regardless of him chasing Crosby, Pastrnak has been an offensive force for the Bruins this season so getting him back in the lineup sooner than later is good for the team.

"It is not easy when you hear that kind of news when one of your better players isn't here," Bruins coach Claude Julien told Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald. "That is one of the challenges you have to face and get through.

"We will certainly do our best and get some wins here without him and hopefully it is shorter than longer and that is all we can do."

Thankfully, it's not a long-term injury. As stated above, it can flare up again, but I'm sure the Boston training staff will keep a close eye on Pastrnak's elbow for the next little while. While I'm not sure what nickname the Bruins have for him, Pastrnak's new name could be "Popeye" with that elbow. If nothing else, I'd expect his locker to be filled with cans of spinach when he gets back from his injury!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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