Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ben Holmstrom update 1/20

Adirondack Phantoms captain Ben Holmstrom underwent knee surgery Dec. 20 to reconstruct the ACL that he tore in a shootout win earlier that month.

Exactly one month after that procedure, Holmstrom watched the Phantoms win another shootout. The winger was in attendance Sunday evening as the Phantoms handed the Albany Devils a 3-2 shootout loss in Atlantic City, N.J., not all that far from Voorhees, where Holmstrom is rehabbing his right knee.

"It's coming along well," Holmstrom told Adirondack's play-by-play man, Bob Rotruck, during the radio broadcast's intermission report. "It's a slow process, but so far everything is good as can be expected."

Holmstrom injured his knee during Adirondack's Dec. 8 shootout win against Syracuse. He shot the puck down the ice during a second-period penalty kill, but immediately knew something was wrong.

"I kind of stopped and had all my weight on my right leg and something just popped," Holmstrom told Rotruck on the intermission report. "It was kind of a weird thing, I guess. It didn't feel right right away and I got off the ice. Obviously it turned out to be, you know, worst-case scenario."

There was a was a two-week period when Holmstrom and the Philadelphia Flyers organization hoped that would not be the case. The knee swelled, and that needed to subside before doctors could do the procedure and fully know the extent of the injury. There was hope the ACL had not been torn and that the only damage was to the knee's meniscus, but the procedure determined that was not the case.

"It was kind of an up-and-down process there waiting," Holmstrom said on the intermission report. "First you thought it was as bad as it can be. Then you got a little bit of good news hoping for the best. As it turned out, it was a lot longer than you'd like. That's the way it goes."

The injury carries a four-to-six month recovery time, the Flyers announced at the time of the procedure. One month into that rehabilitation process, Holmstrom is back walking and exercising.

"I do bike and cardio and I do the stair machine," Holmstrom told Rotruck on the intermission report. "Now we're starting to focus on trying to strengthen all the muscles around it. The first few weeks initially, you're trying to get all your range of motion back in your knee and then you hit a certain point where you have to start trying to get the strength back everywhere." 
Adirondack's last scheduled game is April 21, four months and one day after Holmstrom's procedure. If his knee heals quickly, it is possible he could return before the end of the season or a potential Adirondack playoff run. While the captain said on the intermission report that no date for his return has been set, he also would not definitively say he considered himself as being out for the season.

It all depends on how he progresses during the coming weeks and months, Holmstrom said.

"If it was up to me, I'd try to play tomorrow," Holmstrom said to Rotruck during the broadcast. "That's not really what the doctors are recommending right now."

Holmstrom, at the time of his injury, had recorded eight points in 22 games and was a fixture on both Adirondack's power play and penalty kill units. Phantoms coach Terry Murray has not yet named a new captain in Holmstrom's absence.

Second-year pro winger Harry Zolnierczyk, who was designated an alternate captain when alternate Brandon Manning missed Saturday's game at Worcester with flu-like symptoms, kept an "A" on his jersey when the defenseman returned to the line-up Sunday.

The other alternate, veteran blueliner Danny Syvret, scored a key shootout goal to clinch the victory.

On the farm, The Trentonian's Mike Ashmore caught up with prospect goaltender Niko Hovinen, who said a Finnish report that he was headed to back to his homeland was news to him.


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