(Ed’s note: Walshy saw Brent Johnson go down with his groin injury this evening and immediately got to work on an update for you all. He had hoped that I would be able to post the final three minutes of the second period along with this piece, but I wasn’t able to find it. To give you an idea of what you would have seen: Johnson made a series of great saves including a big pad save in which he had kick his leg out. From that point on you could see him labor a bit. He looked uncomfortable the rest of the way was replaced with Marc Andre Fleury at the start of the third period. – Metz)
By Cameron Walsh
That great kick save Brent Johnson made at the end of the second period may have come at a cost. There is a chance the Penguins could have lost their back up goalie who helped the team get out of it early season slump for up to 3 weeks with a grade 2 tear of his left groin.
Below is a textbook definition of a ‘groin pull’/groin strain:
A ‘groin pull’ (aka groin strain) is often a bruise, stretching, or tearing of muscle fibres which run from the front of the hip bone to the inside of the thigh. These ‘hip-adductor’ muscles, namely the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis, and pectineus, actively move the thigh toward the centre line of the body (‘adduction’) and also help to control and limit movements of the thigh away from the body’s centre. Thus, the adductor muscles stabilise the hip and leg during all sporting activities which involve running. In some groin pulls, the muscles themselves are okay, but the tendons attaching the muscles to the front of the hip bone are stretched and inflamed. In rare cases, there is an inflammation of the hip bone itself, or even a hair-line fracture of the hip bone. Groin pulls can keep athletes out of action for weeks and even months at a time (‘Pelvis and Sacral Dysfunction in Sports and Exercise’, Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am, Vol. 11(4), pp. 805-836, November 2000).
Looking from the way Brent Johnson extended to make that great kick save at the end of the second period, he may have moved his leg too far away from his mid line and as he tried to pull his left leg back in so he could stand up, that was when the injury occurred.
Below are the definitions for the different levels of groin injuries:
Some over stretching of the adductor muscles in the upper leg and some micro-tearing of the fibers. May experience:
• tightness in groin area
• ability to walk normally, but aware of discomfort
• minimal swelling
Experienced partial tearing of the groin muscle fibers. May experience:
• affected walk, including potential for a slight limp
• twinges of pain during activity, especially side to side motion (kind of an important one)
• visible swelling and applying pressure increases pain
• pain when flexing the adductor muscles, especially against resistance (when trying to pull legs in from the side i.e. shuffling across the crease.)
Experienced full tearing of the groin muscle fibers (rupture). May experience:
• severely affected walk, including potential requirement for crutches
• severe, sharp pain, especially when pulling the leg in or moving sideways
• visible and immediate swelling
I think it is safe to say that Johnson does not have a grade 3 tear of the groin more likely to be a level 1 or 2 tear of the groin. Obviously the further down the chain you go the more time Johnson will miss.
Grade 1 will probably have Johnson sidelined for about a week, these are simple bruises of the adductor muscles (or hip bone), with possible a stretched tendon or a few stretched muscle fibers.
Grade 2 will be around 2-3 weeks; these involve stretched tendons, stretched or torn muscle fibers, and often bruising of the hip bone and its muscular attachments.
Grade 3 would be 6-8 weeks normally with the potential to be longer is symptoms do not improve. These are represented by many ruptured muscle fibers, severely stretched tendons, and perhaps separating of a tendon from either its muscle or bony attachment.
I would think that Johnson has a grade 2 tear in his left groin and will be out for around 2-3 weeks. Plus I think they will treat him with kid gloves anyway. It is not like we have peanuts down in Wilkes-Barre Scranton, both Brad Theissen and John Curry have been playing exceptionally well so it will be up to Ray Shero to decide who to call up.