Too Soon for Giroux?
After the Philadelphia Flyers practiced in Dallas Tuesday, the revelation that Claude Giroux may be close to returning surfaced.
How close? Possibly Wednesday for the team's contest against the Dallas Stars.
There's no way of knowing if Giroux's return will be too soon for the young star's health. What is known is that he's the most important player on this year's team. He's been fantastic in every aspect of the game.
Giroux is the difference between a good team and a possibly great team. When the rubber hits the road for the Flyers, one player can extend himself to the point of being able to shoulder the load.
He can elevate the team's play with one pass, one shift, one shot. He does what superstars are expected to do, and he does it well.
With his return looming, the question of his readiness will surely be questioned, as well it should be.
As the wildfire of the NHL's recent head injuries burns hot, Giroux finds himself in the flames.
Sidney Crosby's head injury has hovered over the game for some time now, a black cloud that won't go away. Chris Pronger's career-threatening injury has made the situation real in Philadelphia.
Now, Giroux waits to take the ice. The future face of the franchise in south Philly sits on the side. He waits, he prepares, he is evaluated.
In terms of x's and o's, his presence on the ice is obviously a welcome sight for those who pay top dollar for their seats at Wells Fargo Center.
But the relevant topic of career-threatening head injuries continues to be the circle with Giroux in the middle. How soon is too soon?
There is tough testing nowadays within the locker rooms for those who have head injuries. The worry that the young Hearst, Ontario native would be cleared to play for his talent and not his health's sake is misplaced.
How would anyone know when he's ready to play and when he's not?
The obvious answer is to wait for the proper precautions to run their course and when he's cleared, all is well. With the Flyers' propensity to hide injuries lurking in the background, the worry of the severity of the injury will be in the thoughts of many.
But, Giroux will play at some point and regardless of when that point is, there will be those who support it and those who cover their eyes in fear. Fear that reminds them of Eric Lindros and Keith Primeau. Fear that grows exponentially as they come to terms with the idea that Pronger may never play again.
That fear is strong, and it's providing easy opposition to Giroux's return.
Only the doctors who evaluate Giroux and the fantastic center know where he stands. Only they know how ready he is to return.
The screaming and shouting that he should sit out longer will be met with an idea that no one knows how long is enough. At any point, he could be a hit away from disaster. At any point, he could be a Wayne Simmonds knee away from disappearing into the 'dark room'.
With strong fear and a reluctant understanding of his clearance to play, Flyers fans will hold their breath at the young man's return.
His injury once again provided an understanding of the severity of head injuries in today's NHL. His return and the fear that comes with it will only make the understanding more tangible.