Reports: Zach Parise's "Lower Body Injury" Actually First Occurred in August

Tom Gulitti and Rich Chere both have an update on Zach Parise and it certainly is grim news.  Here's a summary for those who are unaware of what went on.  Parise suffered an injury to his right leg (a.k.a. the "lower body injury") last night against the Los Angeles Kings in a collision with Kyle Clifford. He did not play in the third period, and he has since traveled back to New Jersey for evaluation purposes.   The update is that Zach Parise said that the injury was first inflicted in August.  Yes, August. As in, two months before the season. Here's the quote from Gulitti's post:

"It’s been bothering me," he told me. "I know exactly when I hurt it. I hurt it in August and it’s been bothering me. It hasn’t gone away. I kind of hurt it every game."

Here's a few more quotes from Chere's post:

"It's something I hurt skating this summer and it hasn't gotten better," Parise said via telephone from home in New Jersey. "Every game I feel like I'd hurt it more. It would just keep happening and I feel like I've been ineffective on the ice."

...

"At the end of the second period I came off the ice and it hurt really bad," Parise said. "Every game I'd re-hurt it or re-tweak it and it gets to the point where you tell yourself it's not getting better."

Really.  I don't see anyone can be surprised by this.  Playing with an injury can exacerbate the injury.  Generally, players who are hurt can't contribute as if they were healthy.  It's usually why hurt players don't play.  I don't know about you, but I'm actually disappointed at this development.  Here's a bit of a short rant on the issue:

What in the world was Zach Parise thinking?  How did he pass the physical prior to preseason with this injury?  Why did both Parise and the Devils (assuming they found the affliction) agree that this was OK to play through?  I can understand that guys play with a minor injury, but if it was continuing to hurt the player, the injury wasn't getting better, and it makes the player feel like his performance has suffered on the ice, then how come Parise didn't just step up and say he needs to rest instead of continuing to be in pain from game to game?  Or how come the team doctors didn't step in to say that Parise needs to not play until this injury heals? Who actually believed that playing hockey games would be a good idea knowing all of this?  Would Parise and the Devils allow him to keep playing if he didn't collide with Clifford against LA despite whether it has hurt his performances?  What is up with the Devils' medical staff?

This isn't the playoffs where the games are for keeps and players will play with all kinds of serious injuries.  It's defensible then.  This is October, where the Devils have been struggling, especially on offense.  Playing through injuries then isn't as necessary or laudable in my view. A less than 100% Parise definitely wasn't helping New Jersey's cause. (Digression: Though it's possible that even if he was healthy, he'd still be so unlucky to shoot well below his career shooting percentage of 11.6%)


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG SOG PCT
2010 - Zach Parise 12 3 3 6 -1 6 0 0 1 47 6.4

I'm not going to sit here and say that a less-than-effective Parise cost the Devils any games.  To his credit, he has been far a net negative in terms of Corsi. Yet, I have to wonder whether a healthy and fully effective Parise would have at least made more of an impact this season for New Jersey.   It's even worse that to have to wonder, "What if he sat out earlier to heal up or got evaluated sooner?"  From where I'm sitting, the idiom of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" clearly applies. 

Hopefully, the evaluation will find that the injury is minor and he can be back on the ice as soon as possible.  Until then, there's now a real concern that his injury could be serious, and not just from the collision with Kyle Clifford; but  training camp, preseason, and 12 NHL games in addition to the collision.  There's a real concern Parise could be shelved for a not insignificant length of time.   Sad to say that the decision to play through the pain is not good leadership, the team allowing him to do this is not beneficial to the team, and the Devils and Parise are now paying the price for the foolhardy decision to play through the injury.  It was a stupid gamble by both parties.

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