Dennis Wideman brushes it off, but right leg hematoma and compartment syndrome last spring endangered his limb and his career.
Several surgeries, a long hospital stay and longer rehab later, he was back playing for the Washington Capitals this season. Impressive, sure, but he also managed to make his first All-Star Game this year, too.
That journey has made Wideman the Caps nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, as chosen by the Washington chapter of the Pro Hockey Writers Association.
“It was a pretty bad injury, but I don’t feel like it was that big of a deal, I guess probably mainly because it happened more so at the end of the year,” Wideman said.
Wideman missed the latter part of the Caps’ playoff run and both rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring after taking a hit from Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu that resulted in a serious leg injury. He went immediately to the hospital from Verizon Center the night of March 29 and remained there for 11 days.
Though he had six surgeries in 12 days to save his leg, Wideman scoffed at that as just six times doctors stitched his leg up. He wasn’t worried about long-term effects.
“I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t really think about it,” he said. “I guess I was ‘in surgery’ but it wasn’t like they went in and they were cutting stuff out or whatever. It wasn’t that bad.”
Wideman worked back into shape over the summer, and though he still has some maintenance on the leg even now, but he’s tied for third on the Caps with 41 points (10 goals and 31 assists).
“There was nothing, after it got sewn up and got out of the hospital the only thing I was told about was just a matter of getting – working on it, breaking up the scar tissue getting the flexibility back then when I got the flexibility back getting the muscle back into shape and getting the strength back,” Wideman said. “There was really no setback it was just a little bit of a slow process to get that back.”