With the Winnipeg Jets having welcomed back star winger Blake Wheeler from a three-week absence on Friday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, some wild news came out regarding the injury Wheeler was dealing with. As reported by The Athletic, the 36-year-old literally suffered a ruptured testicle on December 15th versus the Nashville Predators while blocking a Josh Morrissey shot. The craziest part? Wheeler finished the game. Just imagine the pain.
Wheeler was initially told he’d miss about four weeks but evidently recovered quicker than expected. A bruised testicle sounds brutal enough, but ruptured? One could only imagine how much discomfort and agony the veteran was in. But, Wheeler is no stranger to playing through injuries. He had cracked ribs in 2021. That didn’t stop him from taking the ice.
When speaking about the testicle injury on Thursday, Wheeler actually revealed he wasn’t aware of it until post-game last month:
“There’s a difference between being hurt and being injured. I didn’t know I was injured until the next day,” Wheeler told reporters when asked how he was able to keep playing on the night of his rupture.
Regardless, it just goes to show how tough he is. Wheeler is once again playing a key part for the Jets, who are second in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference with a 24-13-1 record as of Friday evening. The Minnesota native has 26 points in 29 games played in 2022-23, scoring nine goals and supplying 17 assists.
Wheeler isn’t just a great player, he’s also a tremendous leader for Winnipeg and will be important as the campaign rolls on. While it’s likely he won’t stop blocking shots anytime soon, let’s just hope Blake Wheeler can steer clear of any more testicle injuries. After the Lightning leave town, the Jets are back in action Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks for an afternoon matchup.