A couple of stories from Tom Gulitti today. First, the report that Devils forward David Clarkson returned to practice today. He suffered a fractured lower right leg on November 27th in Boston. I don't know about you guys, but I honestly wasn't expecting him to be back so soon. However, Clarkson's got that old-school grit, so you never quite know with him. Gulitti says it's a "stretch" to think Clarkson could play Saturday against the Washington Capitals, but stranger things have happened.
Editor Update via Gulitti Update: Tom Gulitti followed up on this report later in the day. Clarkson is improving, but he's not playing on Saturday. As Gulitti quoted the head coach Jacques Lemaire:
Although Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello did not rule out that Clarkson could play Saturday night in Washington, Lemaire did.
“I think he’s going to skate tomorrow and things like that on his own,” Lemaire said. “And he’s going to skate when we play (Saturday) and a couple of practices with us, he could be ready next week, early next week.”
The Devils are quite busy next week, so he'll have plenty of chances to get back in then.
After the good news, there is the bad news: Devils defenseman Paul Martin has suffered what Lou Lamoriello terms "a setback" and will miss another four weeks of playing time. Let's turn the floor over to Gulitti and Lamoriello to explain what has happened:
"There has been a setback," Lamoriello said. "The outside of the fracture has been healing, but the inside has not been healing at the rate that we wanted to see it heal. So, there's been some minor surgery and he is recasted. So, he will be a minimum of four weeks."
Lamoriello said that something was inserted in Martin's arm to help it heal, but it was not a metal rod. "I don't know the terms," he said. "It's like a little grafting. It wasn't healing inside the way it should be. The calcium was healing outside, but not inside."
As someone with no medical experience whatsoever, that sounds really painful.
Lamoriello believes that Martin would still be able to play in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but can I quickly get a "Heck, no!" from every Devils fan in the comments on whether or not you'd want to see Martin give it a go there after missing so much time?
On a third note, Gulitti also reports that Devils forward Dainius Zubrus will begin skating next week, recovering from a fractured right kneecap, according to Lamoriello. Then again, you never know when you're spinning the Devils wheel of injuries.