Mar 10, 2013, 6:10 PM EDT
The Carolina Hurricanes seemed resigned to say goodbye to Tuomo Ruutu for at least the regular season after he underwent hip surgery. They might be able to welcome him back into the lineup sooner than that.
Ruutu could rapidly approach a return if doctors clear him on March 15, according to The Raleigh News & Observer.
Head coach Kirk Muller believes Ruutu, 30, is in good condition despite being out of action.
“Hopefully by next week we get the green light from him,” Muller said. “I think it will start off as team practices, then physical contact. He’s a guy who has kept himself in pretty good shape. I think once it starts, as far as practices, I don’t think he’s too far off.
“If he feels good, you could see him being ready to get in the lineup. I don’t know how long it will take but I don’t think it will take too long.”
That’s vague, but it sounds like he has a solid shot to beat those early prognostications by a healthy margin if that doctor’s visit goes well.
Ruutu is a solid scorer (18 goals, 34 points last season; 57 points in 2010-11), but the physical edge he brings to the table could really be a difference-maker for Carolina.
- Cory Sarich hospitalized following cycling accident, expects ‘full recovery’ 2
- Stamkos shrugs off talk of LeBron-like homecoming to Toronto in 2016 23
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain 30
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal 34
- Zuccarello takes Rangers’ one year, $3.5M deal 42
- Advancement? Leafs sign Booth for one year, $1.1M 25
- Leafs hire 28-year-old stats advocate as assistant GM 30
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 68
- Stars, Roussel agree on four-year, $8 million deal 3
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation 61
- Babcock fires back over allegations that free agents avoid him (77)
- Babcock: Cleary a ‘calculated risk’ after playing last year ‘on one leg’ (70)
- NBC Sports to air over 100 NHL regular-season games in 2014-15 (68)
- Vanek connected to federal gambling investigation (61)
- Report: Zuccarello wants $4.5M per on new deal, Brassard eyeing $5.5M (58)