On a conference call last week, LA Kings general manager Rob Blake confirmed that despite a variety of scenarios that would allow the NHL to return to complete the 2019-20 season, Jeff Carter will not be fit to play. He’s been out with a “lower-body” injury since February, generalized as a “core issue,” which is relevant to why he’s expected to be out for so long: it’s harder to get treatment right now due to coronavirus precautions.
“Part of the issue is he needs to travel to see a certain specialist to get a further diagnosis and nothing can be taking place right now,” Blake said. “He’s continuing a rehab program from home, he hasn’t been around the practice rink in that aspect, but I wouldn’t expect him to be able to play if our season was to start in the next couple of months.”
Though he missed the final ten games before the season pause, Carter was initially listed as day-to-day, receiving treatment at the Keck/USC clinic within the team’s Toyota Sports Performance Center facility. Even if he were still day-to-day, being at any level of recovery when the league returns might mean sitting out based on risk factors for contracting coronavirus alone — though we won’t know more until the NHL is cleared to return as to what that might look like.
The 35-year-old has an additional two years on his contract, with a cap hit of $5,272,727. In 60 games with the Kings this season, Carter scored 27 points (17 goals, 10 assists).