Dr. Wroble talks Hockey Injuries with The Columbus Dispatch

BOSTON – Sergei Bobrovsky’s latest groin injury is his third this season, all on the left side and all in the same area of the muscle. It’s a small strain, according to Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen.

Original Story via Columbus Dispatch

But the concerns created by Bobrovsky’s chronic leg injuries are massive.

When the Blue Jackets play host to the Montreal Canadiens tonight at Nationwide Arena, Bobrovsky will miss his 45th game because of a groin injury since the start of the 2013-14 season.

He was injured midway through Thursday’s home loss to the Calgary Flames, and is out indefinitely.

“It’s tough to put this in words, because I’ve been assured that there was no way he came back too early either time,” Kekalainen said. “He was fully healed, with full strength, full range of motion … everything was back to normal.

“In everybody’s mind who has worked with him, he was not coming back too early at all.”

The good news — yes, there is good news in this situation — is that Bobrovsky’s last two groin strains have been much milder than the initial injury on Dec. 8, when he left a game against the Los Angeles Kings.

The aggravation he suffered just after Christmas, and the one last week, were both relatively small, Kekalainen said.

It’s highly unlikely Bobrovsky will miss the rest of the season.

“I don’t see any reason why that would be the case,” Kekalainen said. “This is not a … if you have a major tear, you’re out six to eight weeks. This is not a major tear.

“But obviously now that there’s been a little tear twice now, after his bigger one, we’re going to make sure.”

Groin injuries are tricky, especially for pro athletes and especially for goaltenders.

“Is it healed to walk around? Healed to stretch? Healed to skate? Or healed to do these crazy things that goaltenders do?” said Dr. Randy Wroble, a orthopedic surgeon for OhioHealth.

Wroble once served as a Blue Jackets’ team doctor, but he no longer works for the club and has not treated Bobrovsky. Therefore, he could not speak specifically about his case.

But even chronic groin injuries can be overcome, Wroble said.

“With good treatment, with him being a young kid (27), with a lot of people helping him — smart people helping him — he can get past this,” Wroble said. “It’ll take longer than it did before. They’ll take the time they need.

“But for an injury like this, there can absolutely be an ‘end point’ and then he gets on with his career. There’s certainly no reason to think this is going to end his career.”

A concern, Wroble said, is if the scar tissue forms where muscle fibers have torn in previous strains.

“That’s not as pliant as normal tissue, and that becomes the area where it gets injured again, because it’s not as stretchy as the normal tissue,” Wroble said. “You ask a goaltender to do some pretty tough stuff on the muscles, as far as stretching them and the speed of the movement.”

But, so far, Kekalainen said, Bobrovsky’s tests have shown no scar tissue forming.

“I talked to Sergei a few days ago,” he said, “just to make sure he understands that this time we’re going to do everything that’s possible to make sure he gets back to 100 percent and playing and sustaining that, rather than this back and forth.”

Tortorella out

Coach John Tortorella, who missed Saturday’s game in Boston after suffering two fractured ribs in a collision during practice on Friday, will likely miss tonight’s game as well as Tuesday’s game in Montreal, Kekalainen said.

Associate coach Craig Hartsburg will continue to coach the club.