Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Taylor Fedun, who experienced a gruesome leg injury, can relate to Louisville’s Kevin Ware’s injury in an Elite Eight game Sunday but will not watch video replays.
Fedun, an undrafted rookie defenseman, was attempting to make Edmonton’s roster last season but suffered a horrific broken leg in the Oilers’ final preseason game that sidelined him the entire season.
“I heard a lot of people talking about it (Ware’s injury),” Fedun said. “I’ve got enough of the details that I think I’m going to stay away from watching it. I’ve lived through something similar.”
Ware jumped to try and block Duke’s Tyler Thornton’s 3-point shot. When he landed his right leg snapped midway between his ankle and knee, the bone skewing almost at a right angle.
Fedun can relate.
In his first training camp the relatively unknown defenseman turned heads before he suffered the type of injury that can derail a career. Racing Minnesota’s Eric Nystrom to the end line, Fedun reached the puck first to force icing but Nystrom’s stick got caught between Fedun’s skates.
Slamming into the end boards, Fedun suffered a shattered femur. His bone shattered into several pieces. Orthopedic surgeons placed a titanium rod and four screws in the largest bone in the body. It was six months before Fedun could even skate at a public rink.
“It was the type of injury I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” Fedun said. “(Rehabilitation) is not something you can do half-heartedly. He’ll have to commit fully to it if he wants to get back to where he was. I really feel for him to be so close to the national championship.”
Growing up in Edmonton Fedun’s dream was to play for the hometown Oilers. Fedun, who played four years at Princeton, was thankful he wasn’t drafted. It allowed him to sign with the hometown team he rooted for as a kid.
After undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation process Fedun has appeared in 59 games with the Barons. He’s scored 24 points, including 18 assists.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot this year,” Fedun said. “It’s really hard to say if I’m where I was before. I’m a different person, a different player. I’ve grown a lot, especially mentally. Physically I don’t feel my leg is holding me back.
“Foot-speed is something that can always be improved. But I don’t think it’s something that’s hindered my play. It’s allowed me to move forward. I’m really thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given here. This season has been really good for me.”