If Winnipeg Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba gets back into the lineup in a month's time, he'll have been a very lucky young man.
Wearing a neck brace, the 19-year-old from Michigan stood smiling on Saturday at the MTS Iceplex, signing a few autographs and answering reporters' questions for five minutes the morning after a frightening collision with the boards.
He went in face first early in Friday's second period against the St. Louis Blues. After several minutes of attention, Trouba was carried off on a stretcher with his neck immobilized, though he never lost consciousness during the episode.
He was released from hospital late Friday night after some X-rays and other tests.
Trouba said Saturday morning he's got at least two weeks with the neck brace before any other decisions are made.
'I think it's a lot of rest (ahead). A couple of weeks I'm in this and then I have to go back for an MRI and if everything's good then, I can start doing some strength stuff. That's what I'm hoping at least'
"I've got to wear this for a couple of weeks and then get re-evaluated," Trouba said. "That's where we're at right now.
"I think it's a lot of rest (ahead). A couple of weeks I'm in this and then I have to go back for an MRI and if everything's good then, I can start doing some strength stuff. That's what I'm hoping at least."
The crash certainly didn't dampen his sense of humour.
He tweeted early Saturday morning: "If you were wondering, the boards are not edible. I'll be back soon."
With reporters, he fairly chuckled at himself when asked what his goal was, the puck or the man, when at high speed he missed hitting St. Louis defender Jordan Leopold and hit the boards.
"I don't know," he said, like he hadn't thought about exactly what the plan had been. "I think I was trying kind of hit him with my hip and I just kind of, when I turned my right foot, caught his skate and didn't really get around. I didn't really have much time to react, kind of fell."
There was lots to think about during the long delay in the game.
"I think I was more scared than anything," Trouba said. "I went in pretty hard. My neck was sore so they didn't really want me to move it. I probably could have gotten up and skated off but they didn't want me to move. It's probably a good thing I didn't, just to be careful. That's why they're there."
The team is calling the injury a neck sprain. It has put Trouba on the injury reserve list and called up Adam Pardy from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps in time for tonight's home start against the Nashville Predators.
Jets coach Claude Noel sounded relieved on Saturday.
"You're always very afraid," Noel said. "You could feel the whole building was fairly quiet and you don't know what's happening there. I got the news on the bench from the medical people that seemed to think that things were OK. It was good to see he's going to be OK because you don't know how those things go.
"You watch the replay, watch it in slow motion, it's pretty frightening. We're elated that things worked out in his favour. It's good to see him in good spirits and back with the team."
Trouba said he was able to call his family on Friday night to tell them he was OK.
"I called my parents, my brothers," he said. "They were watching it, driving down to Miami of Ohio with my little brother for some games and they were watching on their phone so they didn't see it too clearly or know what happened. They were glad to hear from me."
He also said he was thrilled for so much support in his care.
"Stubby (strength and conditioning coach Lee Stubbs) came with me (to the hospital) and then Mr. Chipman and his wife showed up and Chevy (GM Kevin Cheveldayoff) showed up. I was pretty thankful for that. It was pretty cool to have everyone there."
And the Jets' win certainly made him feel better.
"It makes things a little easier," he said with a smile. "I was getting updates while I was in the MRI machine. It's good to see."