OTTAWA -- Ten days later, Steve Downie looks like creature out of a science fiction thriller. Almost all of the white in his left eye is covered by blood, a result of ruptured vessels popped during his fight on Nov. 1.
Below his eye is black and blue, yet Downie is likely to be back in the Flyers’ lineup on Tuesday night against the Senators (7-6-1) at Canadian Tire Centre.
Remember that time a baseball player missed games because of an injury suffered while sneezing? Yeah, Downie doesn't understand that thinking.
Downie spent two nights in Pennsylvania Hospital after his fight with Washington’s Aaron Volpatti, a second period scrap that took place before the night became a total circus. He was defending Matt Read, a teammate he just met earlier that morning for the first time since his Halloween trade from Colorado.
Downie, 26, admitted he made a mistake in the fight against Volpatti, which left him vulnerable to a vicious left hand. He didn’t fracture his orbital bone, but the punch severely bruised his eye area and impacted his sinuses.
Downie was diagnosed with a concussion. The Flyers’ medical staff has seen plenty of those over the years, but Downie’s situation had them worried enough that he needed to be carted out of Wells Fargo Center on a stretcher two-plus hours after his bout.
There was preliminary speculation that Downie might have suffered a seizure, or some other kind of dangerous reaction to his head trauma, but that was not the case. His eye remained closed and he was having trouble breathing because of his sinuses. All Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren would say was that the team didn’t like the “reaction.”
“It was just more precautionary reasons,” Downie said Tuesday after the Flyers’ morning skate. “They just wanted to check me out, give me a CT scan and stuff like that. It wasn’t too scary, it was all right.”
Understandably, Downie didn’t want to go into detail about that night - his first as a Flyer since 2008. But it was serious enough that the hospital decided to keep him another night.
Ten days later, he is back in the Flyers’ lineup. He was cleared by team doctors yesterday. He will be wearing a full facial cage to protect the sensitive area, something he last wore in minor hockey, a decade ago.
“I’m all good,” Downie said. “Everything is good. It’s a little different, but I’ll get used to it. I’ve worn it a week now. No excuses.”
Clearly, Downie isn’t looking for any excuses.
RAFFL SICK: Forward Michael Raffl is in Ottawa, since the Flyers are just beginning a three-game road trip that won’t have them home again until Saturday, but he is under the weather. (Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren is also sick and did not attend Fred Shero's induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but was in Toronto for today's general managers meetings.)
With Raffl out, Downie will take his place in the lineup. Jay Rosehill is also in the lineup. Kris Newbury was sent back to Adirondack. Defensemen Hal Gill and Andrej Meszaros will be healthy scratches.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers