GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It has not been the start to his professional career that he was hoping for as highly touted Detroit Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha continues to recover from a broken tibia.
Mantha suffered the injury during the first game of the Red Wings’ annual prospects tournament in Traverse City, ending any chance he had of starting the season in the NHL. As he’s been recovering from the injury, Mantha hasn’t had to go far to find a role model on how to deal with the setback.
"My sister actually fractured her leg this summer and she also plays (college) hockey." said Mantha. "I was always teasing her for going around the gym for her upper-body (conditioning), because we used to train at the same place."
The teasing would soon end as the siblings' injuries were separated by about a month.
"It was hard for her, but I saw what she went through," said Mantha. "So she was a great help for me."
Mantha has returned to the ice to begin skating on his own. He started skating on Monday and hopes to join the team on the ice in a couple of weeks.
Mantha was the Red Wings first pick (20th overall) in the 2013 NHL draft. Last season, the 6-foot-5, 217-pound forward was named the Canadian Hockey League's player of the year after scoring 81 goals in 81 games played including the postseason. He racked up 158 points for the Val d'Or Foruers of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Once healthy, Mantha is expected to begin playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins.