Just seven days after surgery for a fractured jaw, Chicago Blackhawks star rookie center Connor Bedard was back on the ice Monday, the Chicago Tribute reported.
Bedard wore a protective cage over his jaw and a no-contact jersey as he skated after the team’s practice, taking light shots with fellow injured players Samuel Savoie and Nick Foligno.
The 18-year-old sustained the injury from a big hit by New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith midway through the first period of the Devils’ 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Jan. 5.
“He’s been begging,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said, per the Tribune. “He’s just eager and it will be good for him to get moving. He just has to be very careful (about clenching at this early stage). I don’t know if he can even put anything in there (in his mouth) because … (it’s) not completely wired shut, but it’s elastic bands on it that keep it so that there’s minimal amount of movement.”
Richardson said the trainers will be keeping a close eye on Bedard and will limit his movements accordingly.
“He’s not allowed to take slap shots, so he’s not allowed to really clench,” Richardson said. “So if they see that, they might pull the rug out from under him.”
Richardson said Bedard is still expected to be out the original projection of six to eight weeks. “With the plate (in his jaw), there is a specific timeline, so they’re probably going to stick close to it,” Richardson said.
Bedard’s time off will include the All-Star Game. He was named to the team the day before he sustained the jaw injury.
The No. 1 pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, Bedard is having a stellar start to his career with the Blackhawks despite the team’s struggles. He leads the team in goals (15), assists (18) and points (33).
With their 12-29-2 record, the Blackhawks are in 15th place in the Western Conference. They host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.
–Field Level Media
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