Steve Ott has not given up on the idea of making a return this season. The forward made that point evident when he joined his Blues teammates on the ice Friday morning.
It was Ott’s first public skate since undergoing a surgical procedure in early December to repair two torn hamstrings.
The injury was incurred on Dec. 5 when Ott was involved in a horrific collision with the boards near the team benches. The forward's legs essentially split from the impact and replays left little doubt of the injury's severity.
Surgery was performed on Ott three days later with a three-month timetable set for re-evaluation. But the complexity of the injury muddied the waters a bit, even calling in to question whether or not the forward would ever be able to play again. More specifically, the team needed to know if a return was possible this this season.
“His injury is the first ever in hockey history, the actual injury,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. “It’s something we have heard about in other sports but not in hockey. It’s very difficult to come back from.”
Armstrong was expected to sit down with Ott a few weekends ago to get the winger’s thoughts on how the remainder of the year would play out. It’s been known for a while that Ott was targeting a return before the postseason, but the plausibility of that desire was not known. However, the forward has been skating on his own for a few weeks, trying to work his way back.
“I’ve tried, quite honestly, to stay away from asking him because I’ve watched how passionate he is and how hard he’s working and you don’t want to be the one to rain on his parade,” said Armstrong. “But now we are at the point where I just have to have an honest conversation with him. He is nothing but character so he will tell me how it is. Once I get that read, it’ll clear things up.”
Ott, who has two assists in 21 games this season, has conveyed his belief that a return will happen before the playoffs begin in mid-April. He is currently on long-term injured reserve, but can be activated whenever he is healthy.
Forward Alexander Steen and goaltender Brian Elliott were also on the ice again on Friday as they continue to rehab their respective injuries. Elliott appears closer than Steen to a return but must sit out four more games due to his LTIR status. He will likely be ready once he meets that criteria.