2013 Kings Season Preview: Injury updates for Quick, Kopitar, Martinez, and Mitchell

He's back! - Jonathan Daniel

Quick has been cleared, but Kopi will probably miss the start of the season. A full report on who's injured and who's ready to go.

Some injuries and surgeries happened over the offseason and during the lockout. Let's catch up.

Jonathan Quick

Issue: Back surgery on August 10th (disc fragment removed/inflammatory cyst)

Status: Medically cleared

Thanks to the lockout, Jonathan Quick was able to take a no-rush approach to recovery. Initial reports said he would be out six weeks minimum, possibly back by the start of September's training camp; that turned out to be too optimistic. But at least something good came of the season's delay -- he got more rest.

“I was walking the next day—not strolling around—and I could get to the [refrigerator] and back,” he noted. “The toughest part was getting in and out of bed. My wife was helping me for a bit. Trying to put my socks on—I needed her help for that, too.”

“It took about two months of rehab,” he added. “Then, you start slowly working out, trying to get your fitness level up. Then, you get on the ice.”

[...] “I hate to say it, because it comes at the cost of a four-month lockout, but I wouldn’t have been playing, no matter if we had a deal or not,” said Quick. “If we started two weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been playing.” -- Frozen Royalty

On November 5th, Quick was sent to join the Manchester Monarchs to work on his rehab. While he wasn't able to play in games (per CBA rules), the Monarchs gave him workouts in practice. He was there for almost two months.

Yesterday he was medically cleared, and got back out on the ice with his teammates. Jonathan Bernier may get a shot at a few more games during the start of the season if they want to ease Quick into things, but Quick looks good to go.

Anze Kopitar

Issue: Partial MCL tear in knee on Jan. 4th (Grade II)

Status: Will need at least 2-3 weeks for recovery, possibly more; out for the start of season.

Our #1 center suffered what's described as a "minor" injury a day before the lockout ended, and now there's a small debate over how serious it really is. Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times reported the Grade II ligament tear and Lombardi's projection. The Fourth Period objected that a Grade II tear should take longer to heal.

If you like playing internet doctor as much as I do, a Google search will turn up that A) a 3-4 week recovery period for athletes with this issue is pretty common, and B) there's only so much an MRI can show with partial tears. Kopitar is still overseas, and the Kings' staff will want to check him out themselves:

General Manager Dean Lombardi said MRI images of Kopitar's knee were "not clear, not as definitive as we'd like," and said the Slovenian center will undergo more tests after he returns to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Lombardi repeated his estimate of a two- to three-week recovery period, though such injuries often take longer to heal.

Kopitar's agent, Pat Brisson, also said the recovery could be two to three weeks but added that more will be known after Kopitar is reevaluated.

Bottom line: we're speculating without a lot of information. If Kopitar isn't in a lot of pain, as his brother and his agent seem to suggest, a 3 week recovery time is possible. It could take longer than that. We'll just have to wait.

Alec Martinez

Issue: Surgery to repair fractured cheekbone on Nov. 18th

Status: Medically cleared, had already returned to playing

No worries here. Alec Martinez is healthy and skating around with his new robo-face.

Though the video of the puck smashing his face looked pretty gruesome, his surgery went well. Mayor's Manor has an interview with all the details.

After having two metal plates put in, he had to wait for the swelling to die down. When he completed his recovery on schedule, he began playing with the Allen Americans. The only thing he missed was some experience.

Willie Mitchell

Issue: A "tweak" to his knee a month ago.

Status: We won't know more until he gets checked out, but the Kings say it's not serious.

This happened a while ago, and I don't see alarm bells going off. Will he even miss any games? No one says.

If Mitchell does need time to recover, they might call up Jake Muzzin. However, I think they'd just shuffle the pairs around and replace him with Davis Drewiske instead. At least they have a lot of options on defense.

Conclusion

The only player we definitely know is at risk of missing games is Anze Kopitar. He will probably be out for the first week of play, maybe more. They should know more after tests.

Martinez and Quick are healthy and will be getting back in game shape. Mitchell will be checked out soon.

Go Rehab Kings!

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