NORTH CHARLESTON,S.C. (WCIV) - The playoff-bound Stingrays played 72 games in the regularseason, but captain Kevin Quick missed 62 of them after snapping his left legin half at a game in Greenville.
But Quick'sreturn to the ice was anything but what his name suggests.
"I had acast up to my hip. The first month I was just on my couch. I wasn't reallythinking about hockey, just had a lot of pain," he said. "Then I startedwalking around February so I thought I'd be back a lot sooner but it's such abig bone, so thick that it takes a long time to heal."
"Literally,his leg broke right in half," said Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery. "Thoseinjuries are so rare in hockey because it takes so much force for that tohappen. It's more something you see in a car accident."
But it's noaccident the 25-year-old Quick, a player who spent some time in the NHL, isback on the ice for the Stingrays.
"He's beengreat. He's been great through the whole process. He's continued to be a leaderin our locker room. He's been a crucial part of our team, even when he hasn't beenon the ice as our captain," said Carbery.
After 62games on the sideline and hours of rehab, Quick started Friday night's game forthe Rays.
"We waiteduntil it was pretty much fully healed for precautionary reasons. I ended upgetting one game in before the playoffs," he said. "I had hoped to play more."
His coachsaw that he was ready to lace up his skates, too.
"His desireto want to be back there on the ice, to be there battling with his teammates, isreally easy to see. It makes you assess, 'My gosh if he wants it that bad, howbad do I want it?'" said Carbery.
After onegame, Quick feels good but sees there's still some work to be done.
"PhysicallyI feel good. Like I said, it's just the mental aspect of it, realizing everylittle thing you do out there has an impact on the game. I think especiallyFriday night I wasn't mentally there but I think physically I was there," hesaid.
And as theRays host the Wheeling Nailers, he'll stay there as a key player pushing theRays forward.
"He's goingto play a ton. That's the difficult thing, making that adjustment. He's onlyplayed one game and now he's right into playoff hockey," said Carbery..
Quick andthe Stingrays will be back on the ice Friday in the opening round of theplayoffs and the start of their quest for a fourth Kelly Cup.