The Carolina Hurricanes earned a victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but an injury to forward Max Pacioretty cast a shadow on the evening.
Two weeks after returning from a devastating Achilles tendon injury, Pacioretty has torn it again, an MRI confirmed on Friday afternoon. He underwent successful surgery to repair the torn Achilles on Aug. 9, being declared fit to play only five months later—one month ahead of schedule.
The Achilles is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body and its main function is to connect the calf muscles on the back of your leg to the heel and is crucial in creating the force necessary to walk, run, and jump. A rupture of this tendon is usually a result of overuse, a misstep when stopping or starting, a serious ankle injury, or—like in Pacioretty’s case—a previous Achilles injury due to its relatively high re-injury rate.
Pacioretty has been placed on injured reserve and there is currently no timetable for his return.
The 34-year-old, who only made his season debut on Jan. 5 after recovering from an Achilles tear, went down with a non-contact injury with only 20 seconds remaining in the contest. He appeared to grab at his lower right leg and had to be helped to the locker room. He was unable to put any weight on the leg, which was the same one he had surgery on last summer.
Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind'Amour was hoping to get good news as Pacioretty underwent an MRI, but was preparing for the worst.
“We know what kind of player he is,” Brind’Amour said. “We got a glimpse of it and that was exciting. It’s the kind of player that we needed, a guy who could put the puck in the net. Hopefully it’s not as bad as we think, but I’m not too optimistic right now.
“We’re going to have to pick up the pieces and move on. That’s the nature of the game. But right now it’s tough to be too happy about a win when you know what is more than likely happening here.”
Pacioretty's teammates were devastated to see the 15-year veteran go down, especially knowing what his extensive rehab process to get back on the ice was like.
"It definitely put a damper on the win a little bit," defenseman Brady Skjei told reporters after the game. "After seeing how much work he's put into this point, we're just thinking about him right now. It was just really, really tough to see."
Carolina acquired Pacioretty from the Golden Knights in July in a cost-saving move for Vegas. He is in the final season of a four-year contract that carries a $7 million cap hit. The 2020 All-Star has three goals in five games for the Hurricanes in 2022-23.
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