Almost a year after fracturing a bone in his left leg, Florida Panthers star defenseman Aaron Ekblad appeared to injure his right leg early in Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Ekblad was lost for the remainder of the 2021 season after that injury last season in Dallas, one in which required surgery.
The severity of Friday’s injury is not known as of yet — although it did not look good when it happened.
UPDATE: Coach Andrew Brunette said there is no structural damage for Ekblad and, while the team will know more on Saturday morning, they do not believe this to be a long-term injury situation.
“It’s not last year,” Brunette said, referring to Ekblad’s injury last March. “He’s going to be OK.”
The injury happened on Ekblad’s first shift of the game when he was hit along the boards by Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler, pushing him up on the glass.
Florida captain Sasha Barkov lost his footing and crashed into the two entangled players and Ekblad’s knee appeared to turn.
As a few scrums broke out, Ekblad crawled back toward the Florida bench, unable to get to his feet.
Florida’s medical staff came out onto the ice and helped him up, although he could not put any weight on the right leg.
Ekblad was seen screaming in pain after the hit.
”Obviously we don’t know the result, scary incident,’’ Brandon Montour told Jessica Blaylock during the first intermission on Bally Sports Florida.
”Any player who goes down hurts everyone, but a big player like that … hopefully we get better news than worse news. Everyone has to rally around and keep playing.”
Last year, Ekblad was a leading candidate for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and certainly is in the running for it this year.
Ekblad, hurt on March 28 in Dallas, had to be carted off the ice following that injury.
On Thursday night, Ekblad had three assists to become the franchise’s highest-scoring defenseman, passing Robert Svehla.
.@FlaPanthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad has to be helped off the ice after a rough collision early in the first period tonight.
Wishing for the best for Eks. pic.twitter.com/CKo1Wj5VBo
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) March 19, 2022