The Nashville Predators could use a pick-me-up. Even a little smidgen of good news wouldn't hurt and they got a small dose of that Friday. The Preds revealed in a brief statement that goaltender Pekka Rinne can resume weight-bearing exercise under the supervision of a team doctor.
Rinne has been out since Oct. 22 with a severe infection in his hip. Meanwhile, the Preds have been scuffling in his absence, mired in sixth place in the tough Central Division.
"We are encouraged and pleased to report that Pekka is moving on to the next stage in his recovery and rehabilitation," read the Predators' statement on the team's official website. "He has been cleared to begin weight-bearing exercises under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Byrd. There is no timetable for this stage as that will be evaluated by Dr. Byrd and our medical team on a daily basis. Our primary objective is to insure Pekka's full recovery and return to the ice by taking every possible precaution throughout the process. We will provide further updates when available."
In all reality, there's very little reason for Rinne to rush back. It would be near impossible for the Predators to dig themselves out of the hole they're in and compete for playoff positioning in the juggernaut that is the Western Conference.
It is good that the team is taking its time and letting Rinne recover at his own pace. There's just no sense in rushing him back as he still has five years remaining on his current contract and would appear to be a huge part of Nashville's long-term plans. Certainly, if healthy, it would be great for Rinne to get back out there.
In nine appearances this year, Rinne posted a 4-4-1 record, .917 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average.