Speaking as a physio...
RECONSTRUCTIONS of ACLs, at this point in time of medical practice, will take 6-9 months of rehab. I stress the word 'reconstruction' because if it's a minor tear, then we're looking at a totally different story. Going by thesportingnews.com, it seems that Franzen will go under the knife. I assume this will be the case, and if not ... then disregard everything I write from here on in
ACL reconstructions and subsequent rehabs are funny things in that it's the one operation/condition/tear that always seems to have researchers and surgeons finding and experimenting new ways of of doing things. Without getting too technical, standard procedure would be to take part of his hamstring or quads tendon and use it as a new ACL. There are, however, techniques where you can use synthetic materials. If this is the option, then the 6-9 month timeframe maybe a lot shorter. It does vary quite a bit in this case, and the fact is, no one is 100% sure as to how long it will take in this situation. There is a higher risk with this option, though, and generally speaking, most surgeons opt for the conventional "longer" option since there's less risk involved. Personally, even if it means being out for the rest of the season, I'd go the safer option. Contrary to what many believe, the recovery from a reconstruction is quite good, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if Franzen returned to his former ability. I'll go so far as to say that I'm expecting it.
The long and short of it is that it's quite possible that Franzen will be back in 4 months, but from experience I would look more towards 6. This is probably the best-case scenario and anything shorter than this timeframe would mean that there is more (or less?) to the injury than we know, or the surgeons and rehab staff are doing something unconventionally. Unfortunately, if you do the math, it's a realistic fear to think that he might not be back for the playoffs.
Some people say it's a 12 month injury. Technically, no. That was the case around two decades ago but we've advanced from then. However, rehab can be slow which would put you "out for the season" and make it seem like 12 months. Let's hope to God this isn't the case!! Oh, and to dispell another myth. A blown ACL does not mean that you must be limping, or that you can't walk. Quite often it's the opposite. I've had many patients who have sprained their knee, come off in pain, but then the pain goes away so they return to the game. A week later, we get an MRI and the doc goes, "um... you DO realise your ACL is gone." Yes, it's a funny ligament.
Once again I *stress* that this is all to do with full ACL tears that need a reconstruction. Hopefully we're not going down this road, but I'm not confident about it
And for what it's worth, we'll be fine. No need to panic shop for new players yet. See what the younger guys have in store for us, before any knee jerk reactions. However, one thing is for sure... if our defense and goaltending from last year returns then I see us scrapping for 7th or 8th spot in the conference come March.
The way I see it ... we now have a "nothing to lose" mentality. On paper, over 100 goals from last season lost?! Are you kidding me?? Man, the rest of the league will be expecting us to drop off significantly this year now. We can happily go about business with less pressure and weight on our shoulders.
The season just got interesting....