Patrick Kane returns to Blackhawks practice, preaches patience

SHARE Patrick Kane returns to Blackhawks practice, preaches patience
SHARE Patrick Kane returns to Blackhawks practice, preaches patience

Patrick Kane raced in on net, stickhandled a few times, shimmied a bit and snapped off a bullet of a wrist shot.

Then he grimaced.

No, not because of any pain in his collarbone area. Just because he missed the net.

It was one of the few times he did, as he flew up and down the ice and whipped wrister after wrister past Corey Crawford and Scott Darling at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Wednesday. The Blackhawks practice lasted a crisp 24 minutes, but Kane — joining his teammates for the first time since suffering a broken clavicle on Feb. 24 —stayed out there for another 35, working with the two college kids, Michael Paliotta and Kyle Baun.

Other than the white non-contact jersey on his back, he looked ready to play. But afterward, Kane cautioned that looks can be deceiving.

“They pretty much just told me what the timetable was and how long it’s going to take to heal, and how I was probably going to feel a little bit better than anticipated in the beginning and feel like I could do a lot of things,” Kane said. “But the hardest thing about this injury is probably going to be staying patient and waiting till you’re clear to play.”

So while Kane’s first practice was a momentous step in his recovery from the worst injury of his career, he and Joel Quenneville insisted that the timetable —12 weeks from the surgery, seven weeks from Wednesday —hasn’t changed. No matter how good he looks. No matter how good he feels.

He still can’t take one-timers. He still can’t wind up for slap shots. And he’s still a long way from taking contact. So that miracle first-round return is still highly unlikely. A second-round return remains a bit of a long-shot, too.

A good comparison is Minnesota’s Jason Zucker, who suffered a broken clavicle on Feb. 9. After having surgery on Feb. 12, his timetable also was 12 weeks, a return date of May 7. Zucker was shooting pucks again in just a couple of weeks, generating some hope that his recovery could take a lot less time than originally thought. But he still hasn’t been cleared for contact yet.

Kane hasn’t talked with Zucker or followed his progress, but he did talk with former teammate Brian Campbell, who suffered a broken clavicle in March of 2010 and missed just five weeks. Every injury is different, of course.

“You wish you could be out there tomorrow with the guys, and start playing right away,” Kane said. “But it’s not realistic. It’s not possible. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start thinking of certain dates when you can come back. The only thing I can really control is trying to heal as fast as I can, trying to get myself in the best shape possible. And if it’s seven weeks, great. If it’s five weeks, great. If it’s six weeks, great. Who knows what it’s going to be in the end? I still think the timetable at the 12-week mark. We’re at five weeks today. That puts us at seven [more].”

Still, Kane’s presence at practice put a hop in the Hawks’ step on Wedenesday.

“He looked amazing, after that amount of time to see him go out there and do all the things he always does,” Andrew Shaw said. “It’s exciting to see him out there, a smile on his face. Everyone was excited out there for him.”

Quenneville said everyone, including Kane himself, will have input on when he returns. But ultimately, it’s not a hockey decision, it’s a medical decision.

“We all know it’s going to take time,” Quenneville said. “But certainly he’s doing everything he can do to prepare for that. When it’s time, we’ll know.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus

The Latest
The 21-year-old was found in the basement bathroom of a home in the 200 block of West 105th Street with a gunshot wound to the head.
Xherdan Shaqiri gave the Fire a 3-2 lead in the 89th minute, but it lasted only two minutes as Patryk Klimala scored to keep the Fire in search of their first victory since March 19.
The Sox’ sputtering offense had 10 hits but went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position
The male, whose age was unknown, was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.