Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

What’s going on with Connor McDavid’s leg? Not a whole lot.

Back on April 6th, we packed a bus full of fine Nation citizens and made our way down to Calgary to watch the Oilers close out their season. Once there, we were all witness to one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen when Connor McDavid crashed into the post, tearing his PCL as a result. Since the initial update, we haven’t really heard too much about what’s going on and that made me want to dig into what’s going on a little bit. How is he doing? What’s up with the leg?

When the best player on the planet goes down with an injury as Connor did in Calgary, I feel like it’s the team’s responsibility to make sure the fanbase is up to date with what’s going on. I don’t have to state how important he is to the franchise, anyone that watches him for two seconds can figure that out, so I find it odd that the Oilers haven’t given us any progress updates as the weeks have passed. I know that teams like to be super sneaky when it comes to injury news, but we’re already more than a month into the offseason and there hasn’t been any word on what’s going on with his rehab. At this point, all we know is that he had a slight tear to the PCL on his left leg and that surgery was not required, but that’s about it.

Part of me thought that the question would have been brought up in either Ken Holland or Dave Tippett’s press conference, but after talking to a few people in the media, I get why it didn’t get brought up. Those two days were meant to be announcements for the franchise and for those two individuals to be revealed in their new roles so looping Connor into the mix could have potentially derailed the whole thing. That said, those two pressers would have also been perfect times for the team to actually volunteer the information rather than waiting to be asked. Remember when Bob Nicholson promised that the organization would be more open and honest about what’s going on? I guess we’re still waiting.

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Anyway… back to Connor.

Since I wanted to know what’s going on with our beloved captain, I figured I would start digging around to find anything I possibly could about what’s happening with his leg. We’ve all seen the picture of Connor playing a round at Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf, a course he likely hole-in-one’d every single time, and I took that as a sign that he would be back up and running in no time, but I still had to find out for sure. As always, the first person I reached out to was Gregor to see if he had heard or seen anything in his travels that might give us an idea of how Connor is doing. After flexing on his contacts, he got back to me with a simple, “all is on track and no news is good news.” I guess that answers my press conference questions about why they didn’t give up any info, huh?

At eight weeks out, Connor has yet to get back on the ice but, according to what I’ve been told, that’s all part of the plan and right on track with where he’s supposed to be. Considering this is Connor McDavid we’re talking about, you know the guy is finding ways to work on his game without skating, he’s probably working on his hands to make sure they’re ever more superhuman than before, but I also hope he’s taking some of this time to relax as well. Frankly, I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world for the guy to recharge his batteries and have a little bit of fun while he’s waiting for his PCL to heal up enough for him to get back to his normal offseason routine. As for when that’ll be? I dove into the Internet to try and find out.

Since surgery was not required, I wanted to see if I could figure out what kind of treatment Connor might be working on and how long it would take to recover. From Harvard Medical:

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For all grades of PCL sprains, initial treatment follows the RICE rule:

  • Rest the joint.
  • Ice the injured area to reduce swelling.
  • Compress the swelling with an elastic bandage.
  • Elevate the injured area.

Your doctor may also recommend a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others), to relieve any mild pain or swelling. After initial treatment with RICE, further treatment of PCL sprains depends on the grade of the injury.

How long a PCL injury lasts depends on the severity of your injury, your rehabilitation program and the types of sports you play. In most cases, full recovery takes 4 to 12 months.

According to Sports MD, a PCL injury can have a wide recovery timeline depending on how severe the damage was and what type of treatment is being provided:

Non-operative treatment of a partial PCL tear involves a period of immobilization of the knee followed by intensive treatment by a skilled physical therapist. A short period of immobilization of the knee in a brace or even sometimes a cast may be necessary to allow the PCL to heal first. Early emphasis in physical therapy is on reducing knee swelling and obtaining full knee range of motion. Following this, the focus of physical therapy becomes strengthening the surrounding musculature of the knee which provide dynamic stabilization. Most importantly is quadriceps strengthening because they pull the tibia in a forward (anterior) direction and therefore counteract the backwards sag of the tibia seen when a PCL is torn. Also, core and hip stabilization are important to regain maximum control over the entire lower extremity. This also helps develops this muscular control for their sport and maximize athletic performance.

When I started working on this article, I was honestly annoyed that we hadn’t heard any updates about how Connor is doing, but after digging into the recovery process, I do understand why the team hasn’t given us any news — there’s nothing really to tell. That said, I can’t decide whether I feel better or worse now that I’ve read about the injury and know McDavid could potentially be looking at a year before he’s fully recovered, depending on what’s going on with his knee and how well it responds to treatment. Yeah, I know that 12 months is listed as the outer marker for his recovery time, but you know that the organization will be careful with him, making sure he’s 100% ready before throwing him back in the fire. As we saw with his collarbone, they’re not going to take any chances with this one and that’s the smart play, even if it means we’re all left in the dark on how things are going.

For now, I guess, all we can do is wait and see how long it takes him to get back on that ice.

      • OilerForLife

        Posterior Cruciate Ligament Pain Grading
        Posterior cruciate ligament pain injuries are classified according to the amount of injury to the functional ligament:

        Grade 1 PCL Sprain: A small partial tear
        Grade 2 PCL Sprain: A near complete tear
        Grade 3 PCL Tear: A complete tear whereas the ligament becomes non-functional; usually this occurs with injuries to other knee ligaments (most commonly the posterolateral knee structures)

        Most isolated grade 1 and 2 PCL sprain injuries should be treated with a non-operative program to include functional rehabilitation of the quadriceps mechanism and the possible use of a jack brace to help reduce the knee into a normal (neutral) position. Dr. LaPrade strongly encourages patients with a partial PCL tear to participate in this rehabilitation program.

      • OilerForLife

        I remember them telling us that it was a small tear in the PCL, so it’s likely a grade 1, but I don’t believe they told us specifically, and it’s something that has continued to bother me since it happened.

        I had read articles that say it can develop into a chronic problem over time. I think that the ultimately the recovery will tell us more to the extent of the injury and that’s why they can’t tell us much at this point.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I agree, I wouldnt rush McDavid either, let him heal properly, last thing the Oil need to do is bring him back too soon only to make his injury get aggravated further

  • The sad thing about McD having a leg injury is that one of the major reasons he’s the best player on the planet is his speed and if he loses a step he will not be as effective as he was before the injury. Also the psychological effect it could have on him may make him question whether he can do the things he used to before this injury.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    You have to remember as well that those timelines are for regular people: hockey players are supreme specimens of humanity and heal faster than the rest of us.

  • OilCan2

    Yikes. Let the man rest. It’s probably the first summer in 20 years that he HAS NOT gone 100% training. Speaking of 100% that’s right where he will be for camp in September.

  • toprightcorner

    Connor should not even be thinking about hockey until after the draft. Take a mental and physical vacation and when he is 110%, then he can get back to training.

  • TKB2677

    On the other Oilers fan site a few weeks ago, I think it was a slow day for something to complain about so I read some fans bashing the team for not giving them more information about Connor.

    It’s the offseason. The Oilers have had to hire a GM and hire a coach. They have had to have pro and amateur scout meetings. They have had to meet with and make staffing changes on the hockey ops side and coaching side. They even fired their head P.R. guy. So there is a lot of stuff going on. So I am not one to freak out when I haven’t seen a tweet from the Oilers about how Connor is resting and rehabbing his knee in FREAKING MAY. Even if he wasn’t injured, TONS lot of players take some time off after the season to rest up, heal some small, nagging injuries, visit some family and friends, do a little vacationing and then at the end of May/beginning of June, they ramp up the training again.