Erik Karlsson injury: Karlsson practicing in full equipment

Just two months removed from the date his Achilles tendon was 70% severed, Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson was practicing on his own in full equipment.

On Sunday--two months to the day after his Achilles' tendon was sliced by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke--Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson was practicing in full equipment.

Although Karlsson was skating on his own in practice and Sens head coach Paul MacLean told the Ottawa Sun that he doesn't "think [Karlsson] is close to practising with the team," the progress is both remarkable and promising. It's believed that Karlsson could be back for the playoffs, which will begin on April 30, 2013.

Of course, the question in the back of everyone's mind is whether or not Karlsson is rushing his rehab and putting his long-term success at risk for the sake of short-term interests. The Senators could certainly use him on the blue line, but the risk of a setback is a serious one in this instance.

Shortly after Karlsson's injury, Vancouver Canucks defenceman Kevin Bieksa spoke about his challenges in returning from a 90% Achilles tendon severing. Bieksa was back in the Canucks lineup after three months and 22 days, but he said that "it took a good year to feel 100 per cent [healthy]."

Although Karlsson's injury was just a 70% severing of the tendon, returning in time for the playoffs would have him missing just two months and 16 days of action. Although a partially-effective Karlsson is certainly better than no Karlsson at all, the possibility of re-aggravating the injury and having him miss more time next season is a very real and very concerning one.

On the other hand, the idea of both Karlsson and Jared Cowen (not to mention Jason Spezza, although there's no timetable on his return) getting back into Ottawa's lineup in time for the post-season would give a serious boost to the Sens' playoff chances. With all due respect to the first-year players currently filling out Ottawa's roster (Patrick Wiercioch, Eric Gryba, and Andre Benoit), Karlsson and Cowen would seriously improve the team's blue line.

We'll undoubtedly hear more about Karlsson's rehab in the coming weeks. Hopefully all goes well, he makes a miraculous full recovery, and complements his Norris Trophy with a Conn Smythe alongside a tiny replica of a great big silver cup. (One can hope, right?)

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