Reign forward and Kings prospect Michael Mersch will miss extended time with a knee injury, this news coming as more details emerged about his condition on Saturday.
Reign Director of Hockey Operations Hubie McDonough said Saturday morning of Mersch’s timetable to return that, “we’re guessing somewhere in mid to end of February. I rely on the injury reports I get. So assuming everything heals the way it’s supposed to and you don’t rush it certainly.”
It appeared upon initial look at the hit that the injury was knee-related, but that was confirmed by McDonough. Mersch came down on an awkward check and fall with Bakersfield’s Kyle Platzer late in the first period on Jan. 14 and did not return. The Reign have gone winless at 0-2-0-0 in the games since. Here’s video of the play when the injury occurred:
Here's video of the Mersch injury. pic.twitter.com/1O780dHf2r
— Lindsay Czarnecki (@ReignInsider) January 15, 2017
The 24-year-old Mersch, a fourth-round pick by the Kings in 2011, was a late cut in training camp after appearing in 17 NHL games last season. His absence will hit hard for Ontario, which just lost hold of its grip on first place in the Pacific Division this week. They’ll be without the services of their top line left winger, pivotal penalty killer and alternate captain. Mersch was the team’s leading goal scorer a season ago with 24 and has 10 this season and 21 points overall in 31 games.
On a more positive note, it appears Mersch has dodged the worst.
“Surgery’s the last resort, so now it’s just let the knee heal,” McDonough said. “It’s not really pain tolerance because you want to make sure the knee is stable. You brace him up and when it’s able to go [head trainer] Mike Muir’s on top of it along with the doctors.”
McDonough also added that the injury is the same as the one sustained by forward Joel Lowry, who’s been out since the beginning of 2017.
“It’s unfortunate what has happened, but what doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger,” McDonough said. “He’s a hard worker. He’ll get himself back in shape I’m sure.”