He wouldn't open his eye.

What will I see? he wondered.

Will I see anything?

It took a few minutes before Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski opened his left eye after he collided with Atlanta Thrashers forward Patrice Cormier's helmet in a game Feb. 17 at Jobing.com Arena. He left the ice hunched over, dabbing at his face and scared for what was to come.

Nearly seven weeks later, Jovanovski is back with the Coyotes. He's expected to make his return to game action Wednesday in Los Angeles against the Kings. Except for a bed of pink under his left iris, Jovanovski looks the same as before he was injured.

"People tell me I look better," he said with a smile.

But Jovanovski is not the same. He probably never will be.

"It was frightening," he admitted.

Jovanovski remembers the play. He remembers how quickly he got off the ice. He remembers the urgency to get him in front of a doctor.

"I don't think there was any intent to injure me out there," he said. "It's one of those freak accidents that happen."

Once he did open his eye, Jovanovski didn't notice any issues. But he had suffered a fractured orbital bone that required surgery. The risks were there - blurry eyesight, double vision - but Jovanovski emerged from the surgery relatively unscathed.

Jovanovski realizes how lucky he is. Vancouver Canucks center Manny Malhotra had a puck clip his eye almost three weeks ago and has had two surgeries since to save his eye and vision.

"It's interesting to watch the dynamics of a team when a guy does get injured," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said. "They care about him like a brother. I think Jovo has felt that here, and the players really care about him not just so he can get better, but getting better as a person.

"I think you saw the same thing in Vancouver with Malhotra. They care for him, for his livelihood moving forward, not just the next game, and I think that's the special thing about hockey."