The Winnipeg Jets will remain without injured forward Bryan Little for a significant stretch of time. After initially being placed on the Jets’ injured reserve on November 6, Little has since made many steps forward in his recovery, but surgery still remains a possibility.
Little, 32, was struck in the head by a deflected Nikolaj Ehlers one-time point shot as the Jets battled the New Jersey Devils on November 5. The puck hit Little on the side of his helmet near the ear hole as he was skating behind the net. The veteran forward stayed down on the ice in a small pool of blood for a lengthy period of time before being helped to the Jets’ dressing room.
It was revealed in the days following Little’s injury that the centreman had suffered a perforated eardrum, while also experiencing concussion-like symptoms. Despite remaining on Winnipeg’s injured reserve, Little has rejoined the team for some off-ice activities, such as the Jets’ annual hospital visit this past week.
On Thursday, head coach Paul Maurice provided an update on Little’s injury, mentioning that there has been significant recovery, but there is still plenty of grey area as to the next steps in his recuperation.
“He’s getting better,” Maurice said. “They are making a decision still on whether there needs to be a surgical repair on the ear or not. So they are waiting for some healing to happen before they make that decision. Once that decision is made, and it may take more time before we get to it, then they will move on to kind of the next thing.”
Despite there being no set timetable for his return to action, Little will still need to pass concussion tests, to which coach Maurice said would be pointless to undergo until a direct course of action is determined in his rehab. Little continues to experience headaches and dizziness as he recovers from his inner ear injury.
“He’s back, he’s active,” Maurice continued. “He is riding the bike at a certain level and that has been increased slightly. So he is back in our room, kinda starting the process of getting back to playing but I don’t have any timeline for you… Now in the protocol we put players back on the bike far earlier than we used to.”