Welcome to the regular Dallas Stars injury update, sponsored by Shakira and... well, you know what's coming. Might as well get it out of the way.
There ya go.
Today's update concerns both of the existing hip twins - Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky. Jim Nill was kind enough to give Mark Stepneski and update on their progress during the Traverse City Prospect's Tournament.
They’re on their schedule; they are feeling very well, and they are starting to do full practices. They will practice down there (in Cedar Park), and we’ll play it by ear as far as scrimmages and exhibition games. Very doubtful they’ll play the first four or five exhibition games. We are hoping to get them in the last couple games, which is the best-case scenario.
Hemsky and Benn have been taking part in the informal practices with the team in Frisco for the past week or so, which is about 4.5 months after late April and early May surgeries on one or both hips, respectively.
That puts them at about the same timeline as Valeri Nichushkin, who was shut down in mid-November and returned in early April after surgery on a single hip. John Klingberg took a little longer to get his legs back under him, having surgery in April and participating in last fall's training camp but needing about six weeks in the AHL to get his game up to NHL speed.
Given that, the timeline Nill seems to be suggesting is nothing short of ideal (and may be a hidden benefit of not making the playoffs last season). When the surgeries were announced at the end of last season, the worry was that one or both players wouldn't be ready to play until well into the first month, closer to a six month full recovery than five.
A very interesting question Nill didn't address is whether or not Benn and Hemsky will be participating in the full contact drills once camp starts. The informal skates at the moment are light on that element of the game, and it will be a big step in making sure the surgically-repaired hips are ready to face the regular season. It will be very interesting to see whether or not Benn and Hemsky are in no-contact jerseys come Friday.
For those who are new to the team or who have forgotten, here is what both players went through in excruciating detail.
I don't think we'll get much a clue on the recovery process from Benn or Hemsky themselves, though. This was the exchange Benn had when it was revealed he needed hip surgery at the end of last season.
So he's going to get surgery this offseason?
"I think it sounds a lot worse than it is. I’m just going to go in and get a little hip surgery and call her a day. Get some rehab and be ready to go for next year."
Not going to share details about it, eh?
"It’s a secret."
Is it the same surgery Klingberg had?
"It could be, yeah."
And just one hip?
"It could be one, it could be two. I’m not sure."
That's about what I'd expect when he gets back. But we know how impressive his recovery, not to mention his performance on two bad hips, has been.