Auston Matthews has been a force to be reckoned with this 2018-19 season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But, with a clean hit in front of the opposing net, Matthews was taken out of the game by Winnipeg Jets’ Defenceman Jacob Trouba on October 27th. Prior to the game Matthews led the Leafs with 10 goals and 16 points in only 10 games. Even being out with an injured shoulder Matthews still leads the Leafs in goals following behind Morgan Reilley and Mitchell Marner in points.
Being injured is nothing new to Matthews. In his 82 game rookie season (2017-18) Matthews suffered from a concussion and a right shoulder injury. After taking a hit while taking a shot on net Matthews has now injured his left shoulder. Physicians say that the Leafs will have to continue without Matthews for at least four weeks. Will another Leafs player be able to fill Matthew’s shoes? What kind of pressure will this put on remaining forwards to perform? How will Matthews’ absence impact the rest of the team?
It can be a tough decision to decide when an athlete should return to play. The national coaching certification program of Canada has a Do No Harm policy in their code of ethics when it comes to injured players. Matthews claimed that “you just got to let it heal”. But with money and winning on the line would the Leafs management be willing to put their star forward out again before full recovery? What kind of impact would Matthew make on young fans if he was to return to play before fully recovering? How will team pressure and support affect Matthew’s recovery?
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