Grocery lists have been shorter than Cody Porter’s injury report.
“I had seven injuries on the one play,” said the 6-foot-2 netminder, who’s been on the injured list since early January. “It was a third-degree separated shoulder, third-degree dislocated shoulder, third-degree broken collarbone, torn labrum, torn AC joint, torn rotator cuff and a torn Bankart lesion. So it was a pretty serious injury off of a play that didn’t seem very serious at the time.”
It happened in Regina on Jan. 6, mid-way through the second period.
Porter hadn’t skated with his team since then.
Until last week, when he received a call late from the Hitmen asking him to join the team in Brandon the following day.
Trevor Martin was forced to leave the game on March 1 in Moose Jaw with a lower-body injury. Kyle Dumba took the reins, but it was decided Porter would need to act as a back-up for the rest of the East Division road-trip.
“It was pretty last minute that I got a call that I was going to fly out to Winnipeg and then meet with the team in Brandon the day before,” he said. “The plan was just for me to get the game day skates in and face some shots because up until that point on Friday, I hadn’t faced a Western League shot in two months. The plan was just to back up and get that game day feel down.”
Since the injury, Porter has gone through an aggressive rehabilitation process at the Fortius Sport and Health Clinic in Burnaby, B.C., that included physiotherapy, chiropractic and movement exercises and a hyperbaric chamber to speed up his recovery process.
“It’s one thing to rehab one thing, it’s another thing to rehab multiple things.”
“We had a really structured program. I’d get in, we’d do the movement stuff, then I’d get in to physio and then get into strength and conditioning stuff. I was fortunate there, I had a strength and conditioning coach that was goalie specific.”
“I was supposed to be there maybe three or four hours a day and I’d go have lunch and I’d come back and see what else I could do that day just to try and get back.”
No one expected Porter to be back this season.
Except for Porter.
“I put in a lot of work,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to have good people around me. One of the big things is I want to come back and help this team win games and make the playoffs. It’s really hard watching. If you ask anyone who’s been on a long term injury, you’re part of the team but you don’t really feel part of the team and I was really motivated every day to go and get to work and do as much as I could to get back and it’s nice to see that the work paid off.”
That level of dedication and commitment hasn’t gone unnoticed with his teammates and coaches.
“A lot of credit goes to Cody in terms of where he is right now,” said coach Mark French. “I think he surprised everybody, to some degree, that he’s ready to come back and a lot of that goes to his commitment to his rehab. He did a great job of fighting his way back where a lot of people probably would have packed ’er in but he was pretty hungry to get back.”
“You hear that list of injuries and you don’t expect to see him for quite some time,” said Beck Malenstyn, who was on the ice when Porter injured himself in Regina. “I think we’re happy to have him back, obviously a veteran presence on the ice and in the room so I think it’s big for us.”
Porter’s timing couldn’t be any better, with the season winding down, a playoff push and Martin’s injury listed as day-to-day.
“You always want to get back as soon as possible, obviously I want to play, I’m going to play again whether it’s sooner or later so it’s nice to be back and looking forward to helping the team win.”