The top 5 injuries in Wild history (in my ever so humble opinion) continues now. The criteria for this list was either a surprising or shocking injury, one that missed a significant amount of time or both.
So I’ll continue with number 4: Mikko Koivu’s fractured fibula.
On Friday, November 16, 2007, at 16 minutes in the 3rd period, Mikko Koivu got his elbow up in Mattias Ohlund’s face. Ohlund took offense at this and took a baseball type swing at the back of Koivu’s left leg. It was later revealed that Koivu fractured his fibula on this slash. Ohlund stated that it was in retaliation for being elbowed in the face and that he regretted reacting. He was suspended for 4 games. Koivu would go on to miss 24. Not much I can say on this; the video kind of tells it all.
Now analysis of the injury: The lower leg is made up of two bones: the tibia and the fibula. The tibia is the larger bone and supports about 92% of your body weight, where the fibula is the smaller bone and supports about 8% of your weight. Fibula fractures may be subtle because this is not a large weight bearing bone. Signs and symptoms of a broken leg include: severe pain, swelling, tenderness, inability to walk, bruising and obvious deformity. The cause of the injury was the direct blow to the fibula.
X-rays are used to determine the type and extent of fracture. Given that Koivu did not have surgery for this injury, it was a stable fracture. Based on the video and the type of blow, it also appears to be a closed fracture which means that the bone did not pierce the skin. The fracture was either a complete or incomplete fracture. A complete fracture is where the bone is broken completely into two separate pieces. In an incomplete fracture, the bone is cracked, but not all the way broken. The leg was then splinted or casted to immobilize it for healing.
Bone healing is a process that takes time. First the broken bone forms a clot or hematoma. This clot eventually dies and forms granulation tissue. Days after the fracture, the bone cells replicate. Hyaline cartilage and woven bone is formed. These tissues grow until the ends of the fracture come together forming the fracture callus. Hyaline cartilage and woven bone are replaced by lamellar bone which is in the form of trabecular bone as the previous types of bone become mineralized. The trabecular bone restores the bone’s strength. The final stage is remodeling. Osteoclasts which break down the bone, and osteoblasts which build up the bone turn the trabecular bone into compact bone. The fracture callus is remodeled into a shape resembling the old bone. The entire remodeling process can take 3-5 years.
Mikko is currently captain of the Wild, and as has been shown with other injuries, the center of the team as the team gets derailed when he goes down with an injury. He was out for two months with this injury, but did come back and score in his next game against Vancouver. He is currently playing for TPS Turku during the lockout.
Editor's Update: Anyone remember when he came back? We do.