(Voorhees, NJ) – After fracturing his right leg just above the ankle while blocking a shot in Boston on March 15, it appeared that Derian Hatcher’s season had come to an abrupt and unfortunate end.
Now, however, the veteran defenseman is skating and beginning rehab. He plans on returning for the Flyers’ playoff run and hopes to make an appearance at some point in the first round, although he cautioned that he does not have an official time table.
He skated briefly on Saturday morning on his own, and will do the same with some teammates that will not be playing in the season finale against Pittsburgh on Sunday (3:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).
Hatcher explained how he got to this point.
“When I went in [to the doctor] 10 days ago the x-ray really looked good. The doctor was really, really encouraged by that,” he said on Saturday afternoon at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone
. “I think from there on, we kind of almost starting planning in another 10 days I’ll be able to [skate]. We’ve been kind of preparing for it quietly, but it’s still definitely good news when you’re officially able to start rehabbing it the right way.
“It healed relatively fast, and I’ve been putting weight on it and working out for two days now and the bone feels good. It’s just a matter now of getting the strength around the ankle and the leg back to where it needs to be.”
Although he has been out for the last seven games, Hatcher made sure he got to the locker room before Friday night’s playoff-clinching 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils.
“He ended up showing up down in the locker room and [was] high-fiving guys on the way out,” explained John Stevens. “I thought that was just great. I think his presence and the fact he was around really pumped the guys up. Whether you’re a young guy or an old guy, you can’t help but respect Hatch.
“He’s got such a presence on our team and such respect. If we could ever get a guy like that back, it would be huge for us.”
In 44 games this season, Hatcher has two goals and five assists for seven points and 33 penalty minutes.