The Vancouver Canucks are expected to be without their best winger for the remainder of the regular season and possibly the postseason; however, Brock Boeser has returned to the ice as a full participant in morning skates.
It was a key step as general manager Jim Benning originally announced back in February that Boeser's rib cartilage fracture would keep him out of the lineup for at least eight weeks.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 18, 2020
Boeser has been sidelined since sustaining the injury in the Feb. 8 loss to the Calgary Flames.
To help ease the absence of Boeser, the Canucks acquired Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings before the trade deadline. Still, the Canucks — who have lost five of their last six games since the deadline— miss his presence in the lineup as he was tied for fourth in points (45) on the team when injured.
TRADE GRADE: Toffoli comes with hefty price
How long will Brock Boeser be out?
Benning initially said on the evening of Feb. 10 that Boeser would be re-evaluated in three weeks; however, his status was updated less than 24 hours later when the Canucks GM announced he will miss at least eight weeks.
“It looks like it’s going to be more severe than what we originally thought,” Benning told reporters, adding that he won't need surgery and is seeing a specialist.
According to Radiopaedia.com, rib cartilage fractures are fractures in the cartilage that connect the ribs to the sternum or breast bone. It usually occurs when there is blunt force trauma, in this case, a check, or fall landing directly on the chest.
Brock Boeser injury timeline
Boeser left the game Feb. 8 against the Calgary Flames with two minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the third period.
On Feb. 9, head coach Travis Green said he would miss two games and then be re-evaluated.
General manager Jim Benning released an update on Monday, Feb. 17 saying he suffered a rib cartilage fracture and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
The next morning, he announced the winger would miss at least eight weeks, which includes the remainder of the 2019-20 NHL season.
March 8 UPDATE: Despite Benning's estimated timeline of eight weeks, Boeser returned to Canucks practice on Sunday, just one month after his injury. He was pictured taking part in the team's morning skate.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 8, 2020
It's unexpected news given that Boeser had previously been ruled out for the rest of the regular season and possibly the postseason. He reportedly won't play in Vancouver's game against Columbus on Sunday night, but he was wearing a full-contact jersey in practice and didn't appear limited, so his return could come within a matter of games.
“It’s always exciting to skate with the guys," Boeser said via the team's Twitter. "It feels good to be out there. I felt pretty good out there so hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
The Canucks haven't provided an update on his status since Benning's announcement in mid-February.
March 10 UPDATE: Boeser will be back for Vancouver in Tuesday night's game against the Islanders. The team made the announcement on Twitter earlier in the day.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 10, 2020
It's been a remarkably quick recovery for Boeser, who is returning almost a month ahead of schedule. His return will be a huge boost for the Canucks, who have been slipping down the standings in the Western Conference. It remains to be seen whether the forward will be limited in any way during tonight's game.