It was just 32 days ago that we feared the worst as Scott Hartnell went limping off the ice in Newark after taking a shot to the left foot from teammate Kimmo Timonen.
Now, at the conservative end of his recovery timetable, Hartnell has returned to the lineup, per head coach Peter Laviolette, after a 16-game absence as the Flyers take on the Winnipeg Jets at home this afternoon.
Hartnell had undergone surgery to correct the fracture three days after the incident, and had initially been given a 4-to-8 week turnaround.
But in typical Flyers fashion, things progressed quicker than normal, so quick in fact, that Hartnell beat his own plan for a return by four days — saying earlier in the week that he would be ready to come back for this Wednesday’s home game against the Washington Capitals at the earliest.
In any case, this is the best possible news, considering the Orange and Black had to face the puck drop against Florida on Thursday knowing that leading goal scorer Matt Read was lost for six weeks with torn rib-cage muscles.
One small negative note, however.
Tom Sestito sustained a lower-body injury in the Phantoms-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins game on Friday night, according to Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow.
Sestito left the game after the first period and did not return in a 2-1 Penguins victory.