Van Riemsdyk could return sooner than expected

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks rookie defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk could return earlier than originally expected after fracturing a left patella in November, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday.

Van Riemsdyk suffered the injury when he was hit in the left leg by a puck on Nov. 16. He underwent successful surgery to repair the patella on Nov. 20. He was given a 3-4 month recovery timetable following the surgery.

“He’s on that timeline; he might even be ahead of that curve,” Quenneville said on Monday. “I think we had a forecast of about three months with him initially. I think now he’s at that turning point where all of a sudden he can start doing some more things with it and start more of the rehab process.”

Quenneville doesn't expect van Riemsdyk to get on the ice anytime soon, but Quenneville thinks he can begin strengthening his leg again. Van Riemsdyk has been seen around the Blackhawks’ facilities more often recently.

“No, [he’s not skating,] but now we can ratchet it up where all of sudden you could be start thinking like he could be close to at least being active where it’s more therapeutic,” Quenneville said.

Van Riemsdyk was the surprise of the Blackhawks’ training camp. After playing last season at the University of New Hampshire and then signing with the Blackhawks, van Riemsdyk won a spot in Quenneville's lineup out of camp. He had one assist, was a plus-minus 0 and was averaging 13:32 of ice time in 18 games prior to the injury.