As soon as Jack Eichel suffered a high-ankle sprain, he knew it was bad. What he didn’t know was how bad it would hurt to watch instead of play.
“I’ve never been through something like this,” the Sabres star said Friday. “The physical part of it, obviously, my ankle doesn’t feel good, but I think the hardest part is definitely mentally.
“Just being here last night, it’s tough to watch the game. You want to be out there making a difference. You want to be out there with your teammates so badly. You miss it.”
Eichel is expected to miss six to eight weeks with the injury suffered Wednesday, one day before the Sabres opened with a 4-1 loss to Montreal. He said he’ll wear a walking boot for 10 days, then the timetable disappears.
“You have to give it time,” he said with the left leg propped on a scooter. “You really don’t want to rush into things because it’s an injury that can come back to you. Timetable-wise, you really don’t know. It’s something that you worry about rushing things and not feeling good when you come back.
“It’s something that you want to take time and make sure you’re 100 percent.”
With injuries so far to Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Evander Kane and Dmitry Kulikov, Eichel understands if fans think the sky is falling on the Sabres. But he’s confident they can get through it.
“We can’t dwell on guys that are out or injuries,” Eichel said. “The guys in the room aren’t doing that, and the coaching staff sure isn’t doing that. I know these guys will take care of business while we get healthy. I’m just excited to the process going, and I look forward to when I get the chance to come back.”