On Monday, the Minnesota Wild confirmed that star defenseman Ryan Suter had suffered a broken ankle and would undergo season-ending surgery. Tomorrow, Suter will go under the knife. However, there was still a lot of mystery surrounding what looked like an unassuming injury at first glance. That has now been clarified by Michael Russo of the Athletic (subscription required). The details of the injury are not pretty.
In speaking with Russo, Suter revealed that his injury, a broken right fibula in the “talus” area, was far more serious than anyone could have imagined. In fact, it is exceptionally rare for a sports injury. Suter relayed to Russo the diagnosis from doctors that “if I was a soccer player, a baseball player, a basketball player, this could basically be the end, a career-ending injury”. The fibula is vital for ankle movement and the severity of the break is most commonly seen in car accidents. If Suter’s sport of choice hadn’t been one where the players’ ankles are secured in their skates, he likely would have played his last professional game.
Even with that stroke of luck, there is still a long, difficult path facing Suter. The first step is tomorrow’s surgery, but there is then a four-month period during which Suter may not put any weight on that right leg. Only after that, sometime in August, can Suter begin rehabbing and only after much off-the-ice work can he resume skating again. That timeline is awfully close to October and the beginning of the 2018-19 season. While the Wild and their fans are understandably mourning the loss of their irreplaceable defender so close to the postseason, they may also need to consider life without their #1 blue liner to begin next season.