Michal Rozsival looked at being part of the Blackhawks’ morning skate on Saturday as a big positive.
It’s still going to be a bit until he returns; the Blackhawks defenseman suffered an awful left ankle fracture back in May, and he’s still some weeks away from playing in an NHL game. Still he’s improved enough to be out there with his teammates, another sign that he’s going in the right direction.
“I’m definitely excited to be with the team, get that regular practice feeling, get the passing and shooting and have a goalie in the net,” Rozsival said. “I’ve been skating on my own, which is kind of boring. It’s another step forward for me in my recovery.”
Rozsival said he has about 85 percent range of motion in that left ankle, which he broke in the Blackhawks’ final second-round game against the Minnesota Wild in early May. He was supposed to be on the ice the night they won the Cup but bad weather disrupted his travel there. Rozsival was there a few days later, however, when the Blackhawks had their parade and rally at Soldier Field.
But it was otherwise a pretty dull summer for the veteran, who had surgery on that ankle on May 12 and whose mobility was obviously limited immediately after that.
“It was a kind of a long summer for me, being on crutches with a boot on my ankle. It was tough; I couldn’t do much. I tried to take care of it as much as I could have,” he said. “It was kind of a boring summer; a lot of sitting around. I’m glad it’s over and I’m looking forward to getting back on the ice again.”
Rozsival has a small plate on the left anklebone. The fracture is healed but Rozsival said there’s still some tightness in the ankle. Nevertheless it’s a lot better than it was when the Blackhawks first convened for training camp back in mid-September.
“It’s improved a lot,” he said. “When I got here in training camp the ankle was tight and stiff and swelling, which I don’t have right now. It’s improved quite a bit.”
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Rozsival’s recovery isn’t complete yet. He was placed on long-term injured reserve on Oct. 6, so he can’t play again for 24 days and 10 games from that date. But it sounds like it’ll take even more time than that for Rozsival to be ready – “I can’t tell you how long but it’s definitely not ready now. It may be a few more weeks before I can actually go out and play an NHL game,” he said.
But he’s skating with the team, which means he’s moving forward. It’s been a long recovery road for Rozsival. At least now he’s getting closer to the end of it.
“[Skating] with the team, especially in pregame skate, it’s basically, go, go, go. I kind of liked it," Rozsival said. "I’m very happy to be out there and get that feeling back again, being at a higher pace, passing and shooting. Not just being focused on the skating but also being focused on what’s going on around you.
"You have to pay attention to the other players around you. It’s definitely another step forward.”