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Injury update: Backstrom and Brunette

by Robert Desimone / Minnesota Wild
Wild players have been in and out of Xcel Energy Center over the past few weeks, including Niklas Backstrom, Derek Boogaard, Andrew Brunette, Dan Fritsche and Owen Nolan, who have been working out and rehabbing injuries. I caught up with Backstrom and Brunette, who addressed their recovery progress …

Wild TV: Backstrom highlights
Wild TV: Brunette highlights

Niklas Backstrom returned from Vail, Colo., on May 10 after surgery on his left hip (April 24). He has been rehabbing at Xcel Energy Center this week and also had a chance to skate for the first time on Wednesday at Parade Ice Garden.

“It went well. It’s really easy just for your muscle memory to remind you what you’re doing out on the ice. It was pretty easy, but it felt good out there.”

Backstrom’s regimen consists of riding the bike, and he also began strengthening exercises this week. So far, so good, he says.

“It’s still early, just three weeks after surgery, but it starts to feel normal now. Every day is a little better. Just a lot of restriction in things I can’t do, but working on everything I can do -- those things feel really good.”

Backstrom will continue to rehab for a couple more weeks in Saint Paul before going home to start working out and preparing for next season.

Andrew Brunette is recovering from ACL surgery on his right knee (April 16) and says things are progressing slowly but surely.

“First couple weeks were frustrating, being on crutches and not being able to drive, no mobility. Since then, things have picked up and rehab is moving along. In a way, it’s a frustrating injury because you feel better but you have to give the injury time to heal -- and that’s a three- or four-month deal before I can start doing anything worthwhile.”

Brunette is working out with Don Fuller and the Wild training staff, performing mobility exercises, working on balance, stretching exercises and riding the bike, all of which takes up between three to four hours each day.

“It gets a little old, especially a morning like today when I could be out on the golf course hitting balls. It’s like Groundhog Day. It’s a process and it’s frustrating -- with other injuries, once it starts feeling stronger you keep progressing and implementing new things and, the next think you know, you’re fine. This one, you’re feeling better and actually have to slow down a little bit because the ligament doesn’t heal the same way as other body parts. It takes a while before it starts getting stronger, so it’s a little frustrating.”

Brunette has been spending his time at the rink and watching plenty of baseball games, which has paid off early in the Wild Office League, much to the dismay of Communications Manager Aaron Sickman. Brunette is planning a few trips, including a getaway to the Bahamas this past weekend.

I will check back in with the guys next week for more updates.

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