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Should Jack Eichel return to the Sabres lineup this season?

Should Jack Eichel return to the Sabres lineup this season?
Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-12 18:04:49-05

Waffles are great except when it comes to sport takes. For that, I apologize.

Since learning about Jack Eichel's second high-ankle sprain in as many years, I've waffled on how the Buffalo Sabres should handle his injury.

After talking with some fellow media members on Sunday I realized I'm not the only one who has been waffling. There are several different approaches the Sabres could take with Eichel and both have their pros and cons.

So that brings us to the big question -- Should Eichel play again this season?

Although a high-ankle sprain is a very serious injury, things could've been a lot worse. 

"You talk about ligaments, that's a whole new ballgame with surgery and things like that," Housley said on Sunday. "If there was any good news that came out of it, that's the positive thing."

After recovering from the same injury last season, you'd have to think Eichel would like to return as soon as possible to help his teammates build some momentum towards next season. But would that be the right move for the Sabres to let him play? 

Well, the answer all depends on when he's ready to return. At this point, nobody really knows when that will be, although Housley hinted on Sunday that the initial prognosis was somewhere between four to six weeks and said he could even return sooner.  

If that timetable is accurate than the Sabres should give Eichel the green light on a return if, and only if, he's been cleared and they are confident he'll be 100-percent. When asked if Housley would be content shelving Eichel for the season he adamantly disagreed. 

"No, we've got a lot to prove this season still," Housley responded. "We've got a lot of games at home left. We want to win these games not only for our fans but to build on things and I think we've been playing pretty good on the road and I think we've got to turn that around here at home."

But a return this season is only the right option if the Sabres and their doctors are extremely confident that Eichel won't reinjure his ankle. If they have any hesitations the Sabres need to protect Eichel from himself and hold him out, despite how bad he'll want to return. 

Sure, fans pay good money and want to see the Sabres best players -- Eichel clearly falls in that category. However, if the risk outweighs the reward and his ankle becomes a lingering issue because he played five games to end the season than the organization and fans will be livid, and rightfully so. 

What this all boils down to is using caution. Fans want Eichel back as soon as possible, yet that might not be the best approach. His injury is still fresh and there are so many questions. It's okay to not know all the answers. 

Can someone please pass the syrup? 

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