Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson surprised us all when he returned to the ice on Monday to skate for the first time since having his Achilles' tendon lacerated by Matt Cooke's skate. He could surprise us all again with how soon he returns to game action.
According to Renaud Lavoie of RDS, it's entirely possible that Karlsson could be back with the Sens this season.
Erik Karlsson should be back in Senators line up between 3 to 4 weeks if rehab goes well. #RDS— Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) April 10, 2013
Karlsson's agent, though, denied there was a specific timeline to the Ottawa Citizen.
"Erik is continuing to progress," agent Craig Oster wrote in an email. "He and the organization are going to ensure that he is fully healthy and at minimal risk of complications before he considers a return to play.
"The healing process seems to be going well. No definitive timelines."
The diagnosis originally called for the reigning Norris Trophy winner to be out four months, something that meant his season was "effectively over" per the team.
A return in 3-4 weeks would be quite the welcome surprise, then. If Karlsson can make that timeline reported by Lavoie it would mean a return in the first round of the playoffs.
Just based on the video of him skating on Monday, I wouldn't bet against even the shorter end of that time frame. He looked unencumbered on the ice; all that was missing was him skating at full speed. Otherwise, there didn't seem to be any issues.
Of course, the Senators have to make it the postseason for this to become an issue. The Sens are suddenly reeling, losing their last five games all in regulation and falling back into a precarious position near the cutoff line in the East, where a few teams are fighting it out.
Ottawa has done a remarkable job surviving as it has without Karlsson and a few other top players, but it's not easy to make up for Karlsson in the long run. Last season he was nearly a point-per-game player from the back end and this season he was playing even better before the injury.
For now it looks like Sens fans can dream of Karlsson being back in a uniform this season, they just have to hope their team stays alive long enough to see it happen.