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The one about…the injury

“That was probably the worst thing I’d ever heard,” said a straight-faced Steven Pinizzotto Saturday morning.

“I almost felt bad for the doctor telling me, just because he felt so bad for me. I had never heard those words before. The average hockey injury is four-to-six weeks and he’s saying four-to-six months and that’s a lot of time.”

The doctor visit in question went down on September 26, 2011, the day after Vancouver’s 4-3 loss to San Jose in the team’s fifth exhibition game. The night before, Pinizzotto, looking to make a good impression, took a run at Sharks brute Douglas Murray and got the worst of it.

“It was just a regular hockey play, I went to finish my check on Murray, the biggest guy in the league, and I just bounced right off the guy into the boards and fell awkwardly into the boards. My arm was in the air and the direct impact was my shoulder on the boards so it forced it out, which is pretty unlucky, and unfortunate as well.”

When Pinizzotto, already in the Canucks dressing room, was met with the rest of the team post-game, they questioned him about going after Murray. They didn’t know the extent of the injury and neither did Pinizzotto. Not that it would have made any difference. He’s a physical player who plays tough and finishes his checks, regardless of who is on the receiving end of them. He doesn’t back down.

He’s spent the last 10 months rehabilitating his left shoulder so he can get back on the ice and continue to not back down.

Pinizzotto rehabs every Tuesday and Thursday in Brampton and that’s down from as many as five rehab sessions a week he was enduring not too long ago. He’s been working on reestablishing a full range of motion in his shoulder by focusing on the little muscles around where the injury happened in order to stabilize the joint.

And it’s been paying off.

“It’s feeling just about 100 per cent,” said Pinizzotto. “I haven’t really put it through any major tests like throwing my body at some big guys, but everything outside of that feels good. I’ll get more physical in August with some competing and battle drills.”

While on the shelf, showering was a nightmare, as were everyday everything’s like opening the fridge or the car door. To take his mind off of hockey, Pinizzotto bought a PS3, some games and a stack of movies. Chino, his Chihuahua, was good company, but he’s happy his shoulder injury house arrest is almost over.

“Losing a season is not fun, that’s for sure, but you’ve got to think of ways to take up your time because you can’t sit there and just think about not being able to play. At the end of the day, that does nothing for you.

“This has been a battle mentally, but I’ll come out on top.”