Hockey players are well-known for their toughness and their ability to play through pain, but this certainly is an impressive tale.
Scott Gomez apparently has been playing with a stress fracture in his ankle since mid-October, and although the center left Tuesday's loss to Vancouver, the Ranger hopes to be in the lineup this Monday when New York hosts Phoenix.
Gomez skated in eight games since sustaining the injury on Oct. 18, and he played two more after an MRI revealed the fracture on Nov. 7. Ironically, what is sidelining him for Saturday's game in Ottawa is because he suffered a groin pull he developed trying to adapt his skating stride to cope with the injury.
After an acupuncture treatment, Gomez hopes to be on the fast track to the ice.
From the New York Post:
"Scotty said that the ankle feels a lot better today after the acupuncture," coach Tom Renney said after this morning's optional skate. "Jaromir [Jagr] went for acupuncture treatments a lot last year, too, and found it quite beneficial.
"It's fine with me. Going to a witch doctor is good with me if it gets Gomer back on the ice."
Even by hockey standards, this is pretty impressive, especially since it's still the second month of the regular season and not April when players play through some fairly nasty injuries.
Columbus' Rostislav Klesla had a stress fracture in 2005, and he missed roughly a month with his injury. Buffalo's Tim Connolly had one in his leg in 2007, and he also missed a little over a month before returning to the ice.
To play on a bad ankle for that amount of time is quite a feat, even if the Alaskan's production dipped the last few games while playing with the injury. Since getting injured, he has a goal and five assists, although he has just two points in his last six games.
The fact he wants to come back after such a short period of time is impressive, but, of course, it might be wise to rest the injury with the Rangers not in dire need of points at this point of the season as they still are leading the Eastern Conference in points right now and don't need a frantic push to make the playoffs. The ankle certainly won't get any better playing on it and exposing it to further damage.
If this had been late in the season or the playoffs, you could see the need to keep playing, but if Gomez's production continues to dip, there's no sense in keeping him in the lineup and keeping their investment at half-speed.