Winnipeg Jets defenceman Zach Redmond is recovering at a Raleigh-area hospital after having his leg severely sliced open by a teammate’s skate in a freak accident during practice Thursday.
Redmond went under the knife for nearly three hours on Thursday afternoon to repair the laceration to his right femoral artery and vein, located on the mid-thigh region above the knee on the inside of the leg.
Several medical publications say a lacerated femoral artery — the second largest artery in the body — can be deadly if not treated within minutes, so the efforts of the Jets’ medical staff and players on the ice assisting was nothing short of heroic.
Through a statement, the Jets said that Redmond “is currently resting comfortably in recovery and is expected to be out for an indefinite period of time.”
The Jets finished off an emotional day by earning a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.
“You can’t really put into words what goes through your mind when a teammate is hurt like that on the ice,” said Jets winger Blake Wheeler. “All you can really do is try to channel those emotions into going out and trying to put your best foot forward and finding a way to win for one of your teammates that might not be able to lace ‘em up for a while.
“We all just felt horrible for Red. It was such a freak thing and he’s such a great young defenceman for us. But it feels great to know that we found a way to win for him and hopefully that will put a smile on his face.”
As tough as it was to deal with, the Jets’ collective spirits were lifted during their pre-game meeting, when word was delivered that Redmond had successful surgery.
“When we heard the surgery went well, you can start breathing a little easier,” said Jets captain Andrew Ladd. “Hopefully, he can make a full recovery, pretty quickly here.”
Understandably, there were mostly looks of anguish and genuine concern on the faces of Jets’ players Thursday morning after the incident occurred.
Although most players were inside the dressing room at the time, many rushed back onto the ice in street clothes after they had heard what happened.
Jets head coach Claude Noel said that Redmond was involved in a 1-on-1 drill, was tripped up, ended up on his back and another player accidentally stepped on his leg.
By the time Redmond was loaded into the ambulance and taken to hospital, there was a large pool of blood left on the PNC Arena ice.
“It was shocking. I don’t know how to put it anyway else,” said Ladd. “Your heart sinks into your stomach and it’s a really bad feeling, seeing a teammate in pain. That’s not something you ever want to see. Our medical staff and players on the ice did a great job of making sure he was alright and putting pressure on that wound as fast as they could.”
“It was a scary moment, that’s for sure,” added Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec. “I’ve never seen anything like that. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life probably. It was tough to see him on the ice, but he’s going to be okay and that’s the biggest news.”
The gruesome injury leaves the Jets with only six healthy defenceman and the most likely candidate for recall from the St. John’s IceCaps, Derek Meech, has missed the past three games with concussion-like symptoms.