Flyers' Wayne Simmonds played through an absurd list of debilitating injuries in 2018
A broken ankle, torn ligaments and muscles and missing teeth -- yeah, Simmonds is pretty tough
To say NHL players are notorious for their toughness is like saying that Wayne Gretzky was pretty OK at hockey. Think the Bruins' Greg Campbell taking a slapshot to the leg in the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals, breaking that leg, and finishing a penalty against the Penguins. In that same vein, looking at postseason injury reports in the NHL is always a ride. The Flyers' Wayne Simmonds took that toughness and turned it all the way up to 11 this season. If you looked at his postseason injury report, you'd say he had recently had a terrible accident.
Simmonds spent a lot of time on the Flyers' injury report this year with the notorious "lower body injury," but what people didn't know was that "lower body injury" meant "basically a skating torso." Simmonds broke his ankle on a Shayne Gostisbehere slapshot but played through it, saying per The Inquirer: "it wasn't weight-bearing on the bone, so you're still able to play with that."
He also suffered a tear in his pelvis area, which led to him pulling his groin in trying to temper the stress on that injury. On top of that, Simmonds lost six teeth after getting hit by a stick, and he tore ligaments in his right thumb. He missed seven games because of that injury, and played the other 75.
He was basically the Black Knight from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Oh, and he was tied for third on the team with 24 goals, despite playing a bit slower than what Flyer fans are used to. Simmonds' reasoning for playing through all of this is that doctors said it couldn't get worse. Apparently they failed to mention that this also wasn't helping it get better.
Presumably, Simmonds isn't going to leave an ice bath before next season, when he's expected to be 100 percent. Next year is Simmonds' contract year, when he'll be 29 years old. In the meantime, it's likely that his name will be dangled as trade-bait, even though it's pretty clear that the Flyers' assistant captain wants to be wearing orange and white.
In the offseason, we may end up seeing Gary Bettman take a long, hard look at the NHL's injury reporting policy. Maybe allowing everyone to be out with a "lower body injury" is a bit disingenuous.
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