Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Muzzin is officially out of quarantine inside his bubble, a positive step forward for his return to action.
The 30-year-old blueliner was taken to hospital after he hit his head against the knee of a Blue Jackets player after being cross-checked by Pierre-Luc Dubois, remaining down on the ice until he was stretchered off and taken to hospital for some checks.
The early news was positive for Muzzin, but he was ruled out for the rest of the qualifying round, leaving the Leafs without arguably their best defenceman this series and potentially even beyond.
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As Muzzin left the Royal York Hotel bubble to go to a hospital, it meant that he was required to quarantine himself upon his return to make sure that he had not been exposed to COVID-19, protecting the rest of his teammates in the process.
Now, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, Muzzin completed quarantine and has even skated for the first time this morning.
This is extremely positive news for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will be cautiously hoping Muzzin can return to game action as soon as possible – especially if the team progresses past the Blue Jackets in tonight’s winner-take-all Game 5 showdown.
However, while it is great to hear that Muzzin is on the mend, he will most definitely miss tonight’s game as the extent of his injury is still currently unknown, especially considering the NHL’s strict new rules regarding player injuries and the way they are reported in the media – with anyone injured simply listed as ‘unfit to play’.
Muzzin could have seriously injured his head/neck area in the unfortunate fall and it would be reckless for the team to allow him to be rushed back into action, regardless of what is at stake with tonight’s game.
Having a healthy Muzzin back in the line-up for the next round, where the Leafs would play the Tampa Bay Lightning if they are able to progress, will do wonders for their hopes of having a long run into the playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs must now make sure they give Muzzin that opportunity to return to game action by overcoming the Blue Jackets and putting to bed the concerns that have emerged from the team’s first four games truly to bed.