On Thursday, New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock was back on the ice with his teammates for the first time since the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning back on Nov. 15.
In that contest, Ryan Pulock blocked a shot while the New York Islanders were on the power play and while he tried to finish the game, he did not play in the final 10 minutes. The medical staff determined that the lower-body injury Pulock sustained would keep him out for about four to six weeks.
His recovery time ended up being more than nine weeks.
A little over four weeks after the injury, Pulock was rehabbing and skating on his own back on Dec. 26, with no timetable for his return. A few weeks later, both Pulock and head coach Barry Trotz entered COVID-19 protocol.
Although there was no official statement from the Islanders that Pulock was out, Trotz stated that Pulock was “sweating it up” following the 4-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 21.
During morning skate, Pulock was involved in all the drills and towards the end, took a handful of one-timers.
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) January 27, 2022
“It’s amazing. He’s a big part of our team,” teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau said following morning skate. “He’s a great guy to be around and just to see him skating with us today after all the hard work that he’s put in day in day out to come back, it’s big.”
“Everyone was happy to see him, everyone had a smile on their face.”
Just because Pulock is back at practice does not mean he’s game-ready, but it is a major step in the right direction. The Islanders have four games remaining before the All-Star Break. Could he return before the break?
“That’s really the question for the player,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “The one thing that we do is it’s really the player’s decision and he’ll know. He’ll know how comfortable he feels, where his conditioning is.”
“I will have an observation but really it’s going to end up being a player’s decision saying no I feel like I’m ready to go on in and then it’s in my court. And I’m not there yet.”
That’s more than likely a hope rather than reality, given how Pulock has been handled since his injury. I would think that he would need a good amount of practice time to get back feeling like he can play as well as making sure everything feels the way it needs to feel before being re-inserted into the lineup.
In 12 games played this season, Ryan Pulock has no goals and two assists and has played an average of 21:07 minutes.