Dave Bolland had been on top of the world, off to a fantastic start with the team he grew up cheering for with 10 points in his first 14 games.
Now he can only sit at home with his foot heavily bandaged, watching as many TV shows and movies as he can in a bid to stop from going stir crazy.
And try to keep his hopes up that he’ll be back on the ice at some point this season.
Bolland was back at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility on Monday afternoon but when he’ll be able to return from a nasty cut to a tendon on his ankle remains unknown.
Estimates in the medical community for this type of injury range from anywhere between two and six months, meaning if he can return, it will likely be deep into the season.
“Everything was rolling,” Bolland said. “Everything was going really well. Things were going well and then something like this happens it really crushes you.”
Bolland suffered the injury on Nov. 2 when Vancouver Canucks winger Zack Kassian’s skate clipped his foot momentarily, dropping the Leafs centre to the ice immediately, leaving him able to only watch on as Kassian scored a key goal.
The sensation in his ankle wasn’t immense pain but more that something had gone seriously wrong.
“I just went in the corner and by the time I turned around I just fell and didn’t really feel anything in my ankle,” Bolland explained. “Tried to get up and my ankle just buckled… When you get cut like that or any type of injury like that that’s always a scary moment.”
He added that he doesn’t blame Kassian for what was clearly a “freak” play, albeit one that has been happening more frequently in the NHL given how sharp skates now are.
“It’s just a freak thing,” Bolland said. “It’s hockey. You’re going in the corners and you’re wearing sharp blades; it was just a little opening in my foot that got cut.”
“He’s handling the situation so well from what I’ve seen,” teammate Mason Raymond said. “He’s got a smile on his face. It’s tough. I’ve been through a tough injury – I know what that’s like. It’s not fun. But I think it shows a lot of his character, how he carries himself.”
As for his return, all Bolland would say is that he’s “hoping” it’ll be at some point this season, adding that he’s “not a doctor” when asked about the specific time table.
No one around the team is saying either, as tendon injuries can be difficult forecast.
He will be off of crutches after a month, which should be the team doctors’ first chance to assess the healing process and get a better idea of when (or if) he’ll be back.
Until then, Bolland is learning to be patient, trying to keep his mind occupied by helping out around the home.
“You can’t do much,” he said. “You can’t put any weight on it. You’ve got to let the healing begin. For me, it’s sitting in front of my Apple TV watching as many shows as I can.
“But I get to see the motherhood of life and see what goes on actually when I’m on the road. Had to actually change a diaper and do things like that.”
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