An expedited recovery wouldn’t be easy.
The uncomfortable plane ride back to Minneapolis gave Parenteau plenty of time to consider the process. The Sunday after the injury he was given a timeline — six to seven weeks. Surgery was performed on Monday and later that night Parenteau tweeted X-rays of his broken and repaired bone side-by-side.
The next two weeks consisted of icing and resistance band workouts. The plates and screws gave him the support he needed, and the remaining recovery time was up to him.
Four weeks after the break, he was back on the ice nursing what he called a “good sore.” It hurt, he said, and his Achilles’ tendon felt like a wet piece of leather.
“I was worried but at the same time pretty determined to do whatever it takes to get back out here for the last half of the season, especially my senior year,” Parenteau said. “Jeff [Winslow] really helped me in that aspect of getting my mobility and strength back.”
An early return
The unexpected loss of two more Gophers defenseman — Michael Brodzinski (injury) and Ben Marshall (game disqualification) — forced Parenteau back into action a week early.
Guentzel had hoped for a less stressful environment for Parenteau’s return. Instead, he returned for the North Star College Cup championship game on Jan. 25 against longtime rival Minnesota Duluth in front of nearly 15,000 fans at Xcel Energy Center.
The rust and nerves were evident, but Guentzel said the team needed Parenteau’s veteran presence.
He has played a big role on the Gophers’ penalty kill and is among the team leaders in plus-minus (plus-15) despite only playing 18 games. That rating puts him third in the conference and tied for ninth in the nation among defensemen.
“Mentally, especially the first game coming back, it was hard to break through that barrier,” Parenteau said. “It felt like my first game again. … It was really fun to have those butterflies again and being able to play under that pressure.”
The Parenteau family also had butterflies. His parents left behind a ski trip in northern Minnesota and rushed to the Twin Cities for their son’s return to the ice. He was plus-1 with a block in his return.