By amuir29
January 10, 2014

Goaltender Pekka Rinne of the Nashville PredatorsPekka Rinne's return from hip surgery and an infection will take longer than the Predators hoped. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

On Thursday, the Nashville Predators reneged on a promise to update the condition of ailing goaltender Pekka Rinne, prompting speculation that whatever the latest tests revealed, it was anything but good.

Turned out that it wasn't too bad after all. Sort of.

From the Preds:

We are encouraged and pleased to report that Pekka is moving on to the next stage in his recovery and rehabilitation. He has been cleared to begin weight-bearing exercises under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Byrd. There is no timetable for this stage as that will be evaluated by Dr. Byrd and our medical team on a daily basis. Our primary objective is to insure Pekka’s full recovery and return to the ice by taking every possible precaution throughout the process. We will provide further updates when available.

Good to hear that he appears to be making some progress. But at this point in Nashville's season, "some progress" doesn't sound too promising, either.

Although the unnamed "we" in the release doesn't specifically say as much, the message is pretty clear: Don't leave a light on for Rinne. He's gonna be out for a while.

Which leads to the question: how much longer until they shut him down for the year?

Things have not gone well for the Preds since Rinne last played on October 22. The combo of Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec--which coming into the season boasted a total of one NHL game's worth of experience between them--has led Nashville into sixth place in the Central Division, with nine points and three teams between them and a wild card spot. Their chances to make up that ground are not good.

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