Thursday, February 3, 2011

Colaiacovo gets back on ice

Defenseman fortunate after being hit with
puck in eye; no timetable for return to lineup

ST. LOUIS -- When it happened the first time, Carlo Colaiacovo thought it was just a coincidence.

Although there is a risk each time one steps onto the ice, it couldn't happen again could it?

Colaiacovo, who had already been hit in the mouth with an errant puck that required 12 stitches, just returned to the lineup on Jan. 18 against the Los Angeles Kings after missing two games.

Colaiacovo, who has played his career without a visor, did not wear one that night either.

Then, it happened again. But this time, it was more serious.

Colaiacovo was struck in the face again, this time, an errant puck hit his left eye/temple and has sidelined the Blues' defenseman ever since.

But Colaiacovo returned to the ice and skated on his own Thursday for the second consecutive day after a near-scare that could have cost him vision to the eye.

"It's one of the scariest things that's ever happened to me," said Colaiacovo, who was also sidelined earlier this season with a concussion. "At first, you always imagine the worst. You see the amount of blood coming out of my eye and the thought at the time of not being able to see ... the thoughts that go through your head are scary. It was a really scary moment for me and made me appreciate the gift of having two eyes.

"I did lose my vision for a couple days, but I've made tremendous progress since that time. I've just got to continue with the protocol."

Colaiacovo, who has 12 assists and 16 points in 36 games this season, needed 10 stitches to repair the cut near the left side of his temple, but unfortunately, most of the puck caught him flush in the left eye.

"It was tough. It's something I never wish upon anybody," Colaiacovo said. "... I just consider myself grateful that I didn't suffer anything worse. For about four or five days there when all you can see is black out of your eye, it's scary. You never know if you're going to get it back."

There is no timetable for Colaiacovo's return, but doctors are expecting him to make a full recovery, as long as there are no setbacks.

"It's obviously positive steps," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "He's still got some time to go and there's going to be conditioning involved in that. What the exact timeline is, don't know. But we know it's getting closer."

"As long as I don't face any setbacks, I should get back to 100 percent," Colaiacovo said. "I'm still experiencing blurred vision in the eye, but not as much as I was experiencing."

Colaiacovo will not need surgery, at least for now. As long as he progresses as doctors have envisioned, looks like surgery will not be needed. His pupil is still larger than normal.

"(Doctors) have said I have clearance to start skating," Colaiacovo said. "It's hope and belief that the blood will drain through more training and exercise, but surgery right now is not an option but it's something I've got to continue to monitor and make sure it doesn't get worse."

Now begs the question of a visor. Will he or won't he don one now?

"It's made me have a reality check about wearing a visor and making sure I continue the rest of my life with two eyes," Colaiacovo emphatically said. "I've been instructed to wear a cage for the first couple weeks -- the area around the eye is still sensitive.

"If you would have told me in back-to-back games I would have taken a shot in the face, I probably would have laughed about it. .. You can't come to a word or an explanation as to why. All I know is I'm taking every precaution from now forward making sure it doesn't happen again."

* NOTES -- Blues forward David Perron made an appearance today at Scottrade Center and took part in a very limited and light workout before taking in some of the team's practice.

Perron, who has been out since Nov. 4 with concussion-related symptoms, recently spent some time away from the team on vacation that enabled him to relax. There is still no immediate timetable for Perron's return to the lineup.

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