Colorado Avalanche: Erik Johnson Injury Reported as Separated Shoulder

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 15: Erik Johnson
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 15: Erik Johnson /

The injury to Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has been unofficially announced as a separated shoulder.

Colorado Avalanche cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson suffered an injury in the February 18 game against the Edmonton Oilers. He stayed prone on the ice for a length of time and had to be helped off. This is a man who finished a shift with a broken leg, so it’s safe to day he has a high pain tolerance.

The Avalanche put him on Injured Reserve pretty quickly and announced he was out “indefinitely” with and upper body injury. All of that is what we know for sure.

Teams tend to keep player injuries under wraps, especially if there’s any chance said player could return to the lineup within the season. However, major injuries are usually reported, especially the season-ending variety.

Injury Speculation — and Announcement

Well, the Colorado Avalanche haven’t made an official announcement, but BSN Avalanche have declared that they can tell us it’s a separated shoulder. Since you can’t read that link unless you have a subscription, here’s Avs insider Adrian Dater’s tweet about it:

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Dater of all people has a lot of inside contacts and does his research. So, I’m inclined to believe him.

However, there is one thing that doesn’t settle right with that announcement — the player reactions on the bench. As Erik Johnson was helped up, Alexander Kerfoot frowned, Mikko Rantanen grimaced, and Nathan MacKinnon looked away. As Johnson was helped off the ice, Tyson Barrie also grimaced. There was also a video shown in the next game of Johnson cradling his left hand.

All of that led me to believe Erik Johnson had suffered a visually ugly injury, probably a dislocation. I was hoping for finger since that would probably be easier to come back from, but I opined wrist. What led me to that is watching replay of the action:

Watch how Johnson’s left glove seems to collapse against Anton Slepyshev‘s shoulder. However, it’s possible the force of the impact jarred all the way up his shoulder, dislocating it. And Johnson does make a move toward his shoulder with his right hand. What’s more, cradling his left hand later could be because his shoulder was out of its socket.

The players on the bench could have had their reactions because of all the pain poor Johnson was in.

Recovery from a Separated Shoulder

Treatment and recovery time from a separated shoulder depend on the severity of the injury. With a mild separation, the ligaments that hold the collarbone to the shoulder blade are stretched. In severe injuries, they’re torn.

Per the Mayo Clinic, treatment for a separated shoulder is typically rest, ice, and physical therapy. Minor separations can heal in a few weeks while severe ones can take months. Unfortunately, if the separation is severe enough, it could necessitate surgery to reconnect torn ligaments. Naturally, that adds on to the recovery time.

Next: 5 Players Who Must Work Together w/o EJ

It is February, seven months away from the start of the 2018-19 season. That should be plenty of time for Erik Johnson to recover from his injury, even if it’s a more severe separated shoulder.

We all knew he wasn’t returning to the Colorado Avalanche this season after watching the replay of his exit from the ice. But we’ll see him at the beginning of next season — I’m confident in that.