Concussions are nothing to mess with, and Chicago Wolves defenseman Joel Edmundson is well aware of that. Edmundson has been out of the Wolves lineup since suffering one against Rockford on Jan. 5.
On Thursday Edmundson went through his first full-speed practice, and joined the Wolves for their three-game, five-day trip that begins this afternoon against the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
Edmundson, a rookie with one goal and three assists in 32 games, said he was game-ready after practice at The Edge Ice Arena on Thursday.
"It’s one of those injuries where it’s all on me," said Edmundson, whose 71 penalty minutes still leads the team despite missing the past five games. "The trainers can’t tell me when I’m ready—it’s all on me. But I’ve had one before and I know not to rush back. I feel good enough and I trust myself, so I think I’m ready."
Wolves coach John Anderson said he plans to use Edmundson as soon as he can, but that it was unlikely he'd play in both back-to-back games this weekend. Chicago plays at Hamilton on Sunday.
Forwards Tyler Shattock and Cody Beach also returned to the Wolves this week, though Beach has since been reassigned to Kalamazoo for a conditioning assignment. Shattock has fully recovered from a nasty virus that kept him sidelined since he played Jan. 5.
Beach, who rooms with Shattock, also fell victim of the virus, but also missed time while dealing with a private family matter.
AND NOW FOR THE BAD NEWS
Just as those three return from injuries or illness, the team received bad news about center Pat Cannone, who broke a bone in his right hand during the Wolves game Tuesday in Utica, N.Y.
The injury happened early in the Wolves' 2-1 loss against the Comets. But Cannone played the entire game despite the pain. He was in street clothes with his right hand wrapped at Thursday's practice.
The Wolves expect Cannone to be out for four weeks.
"He’s a very, very versatile guy for us," Anderson said. "He had bit of a slow start, but he’s been really really good for us on that third line, plus I can put him on the first line, I can use him to kill penalties. That’s going to be a big hole for us to fill."
The injury, combined with the trade of Corey Locke, leaves the Wolves with a void at center. The arrival of Adam Cracknell from the Blues helps offset that a little, and the Wolves also have Nathan Longpre and Alexandre Bolduc with experience at center.
"We’re not as good as we’d like to be there, but those are the things that happen to everybody," Anderson said. "Everybody gets injuries so we’re not the only team."