Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

McDavid Speaks About his Knee

Connor McDavid spoke to the media at the Biosteel Camp in Toronto this morning. McDavid won’t be skating in the camp, but he mentioned how he worked out and skated with Gary Roberts early this morning, before attending the camp.

McDavid has been skating for a few months, but not in contact situations. He reiterated his goal was to be ready for training camp, but back in July Oilers GM Ken Holland first hinted that McDavid might miss the first few days of camp for precautionary reasons.

Now that training camp is less than two weeks away, the focus on McDavid’s health will increase, and likely so too will the angst among Oilers fans.

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It is understandable to fret about the health of the Oilers most important player. Their playoff chances increase significantly with him in the lineup, and vice versa if he is out.

If he misses a few preseason games, I wouldn’t be too concerned. He only played four preseason games last year, when he wasn’t coming off a knee injury, for a total of 68 minutes. He won’t need to play a lot in the preseason to be ready.

If they feel three games is sufficient McDavid could play on September 24th, 26th and 28th. Or if he only needs two games then on the 26th and 28th. If they shoot for the 26th and 28th that is still 30 more days for McDavid to get stronger.

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He has been on the ice for over two months, which is a good sign, and I’m not surprised he and the Oilers doctors are being very cautious.

His focus has been on the PCL tear to his left knee that occurred in the final game of the season. It didn’t require surgery, and he has been rehabbing it all summer.

“I’m just focusing on my rehab and the injury itself,” McDavid said this morning. “It’s coming back together and everything like that, but ultimately you don’t want to come back too early, and make sure it’s fully healed and you’re not going to get hurt again. But I’m not too worried about that.”

McDavid and his doctors outlined a rehab schedule for the summer, and McDavid said his goal was to be ready for training camp. If the doctors feel he needs and extra week, or two, or three, he and the Oilers won’t rush him into preseason games. There is no need to.

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The fact McDavid was training and skating early in the morning with Roberts, before attending the BioSteel camp illustrates how committed he is to being ready and healthy to start the season.

Will he be on the ice on day one of training camp? I honestly don’t know, and wouldn’t speculate, but I’ve seen firsthand how much a player can improve in the final month of rehabbing. How he looks and feels on August 26th could be very different from how he is on October 2nd.

I wouldn’t worry if he isn’t on the ice on day one of training camp. Even if he doesn’t play a preseason game, I’d still be confident he could dominate the regular season. It wouldn’t be ideal, but his talent is so good, he won’t need much playing time to be near his regular skill level.

Remember his rookie season and how he played after missing three months with a broken collarbone?

He scored 1-2-3 in his first game back and produced 12 points in his first five games. He missed three months and then stepped back into the NHL in early February, when the speed and pace of the game is the most difficult. And he was a rookie.

If he sits out all of preseason, but is ready on opening night, October 2nd, I don’t think we will see much rust. He is that good. Of course he would like to play a few preseason games, all players would, but until he misses a regular season game, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about his ability to perform.

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Recently by Jason Gregor:

  • Schmidt Head

    Let him skip training camp entirely if that’s what he needs. Why does he even need to be there?

    Training camp is for two things; 1) To get yourself into proper final game shape after being away all summer and 2) To see who makes the team and who can work with who.

    1) His rehab IS getting him into shape and the first few games of the season will suffice for a post-summer shakedown. 2) There’s no question (to say the least) whether HE’S making the team and it’s up to others to adjust to him, not vice versa.

    Keep working and healing, good sir! See you opening night!

    • Harry2

      I have no problem with him being at camp. He is in fact the hands down leader of the Oilers. But they should dress him head to toe in bright orange and make him no contact until game one of the regular season

    • BR

      You do also want to confirm that the Drai – McD – Kass line still looks good though – as you want to establish chemistry with the other lines and if that ends up not working it can throw a spanner in the works throughout the lineup. They can at least practice him there though – but not play him. Having one more big minute centre spot available gives more at bats to the guys vying for the 3c spot

    • CaptainCanada94

      100% agree with this ! Speculation and fear mongering is worthless. I understand where it comes from because our playoffs ride on his shoulders, however; we know his level of dedication to the game, and gord knows he’s getting the highest level of Dr. attention.

      Perhaps we should be speculating on the picture included… James Neal looks pretty concerned to me? That can only be good news… (Insert Article Here).

      Opening day cannot come soon enough!!!

  • Burnward

    For the love of god I hope tippett is smart enough to not play him 23 a night.

    He shouldn’t be forced to do what management cannot – try to make this team competitive.

    • I agree with Burnward. This is a time the coach has to overrule McD about his ice time for his own good. He should max out at 18 min a game to start and slowly increase it by January. He can’t dictate his usage as he was able to do with the Oilers other coaches. Without healthy McD this team is in big trouble.

    • jesse says yep

      Tippet has already committed to not using McDavid and Drai on the penalty kill. And if they can put together any sort of 2nd powerplay that can produce, they should be able to keep Connors down to 20 minutes a game.

  • hagar

    It’s a minor injury vs an mcl or acl, and it wasnt even a full tear.

    Chalk this up way more heavily to taking his time, than his knee being screwed. If it was his mcl or acl it would be more worrisome.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    No, i am NOT comparing myself in any way to 97. But i tore my PCL about to about the same degree as McDavid did 3 months ago. Specialists told me that it would take me 6 months to be 100% (no surgery, just rehab). I am not there yet by far. So i can see their trepidation. 97 is one of those amazing freaks of nature, so i can see 3 months being his timetable.

  • TKB2677

    I am sure some Oilers fans, there are already some on Oilfans, will immediately think worse case scenario and assume McDavid and his knee is in trouble. Everyone including him says rehab is going good. He’s been skating for 2 mouth which is a positive. It’s still August, the season doesn’t start until October. If we get to a few days before the season opener and he has barely practiced, then I will be concerned. If he has to miss a few preseason games so we don’t see him undress some never will be NHLers so he can be healthy for the season, I won’t lose any sleep.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    There is now way they are going to rush McDavid and his recovery, both Connor and the Oilers will make sure he is good to go only when the Doctors, McDavid and the Oilers all have the consensus he is good and there is no risk. There is no rush and I doubt any Oilers fans want McDavid back any sooner than he needs to be, there is zero sense in having him on the ice until there isnt any risk he could re injure it because he isnt fully healed.

  • Neilio

    There is no reason to take a chance on the knee prior to actual games. Another 5 weeks of rehab and strength training is much better than doing some drills for Bio Steel. Got nothing to prove there.
    Maybe a game or two of pre-season with limited minutes just to get his confidence in his knee up. That’s about all I’d do. Don’t want another Sekera situation. Injuring yourself coming back from a previous injury.

  • RJ

    It’s not like KH went through the process to add final pieces for an extended playoff run.

    If he has to take time until Christmas healing, then that’s what he should do.

  • Fireball

    😂 the whole world talking McD not skating at Bio camp.. just read a few articles that said he’s not himself, seems depressed, big questions if he’ll be ready, not impressed with Trades or coaches, and almost every headline McD not skating ! He’s been on the ice for two months with Garry Roberts ! He’s trending in the exact way he’s supposed to with his knee injury. Of course he’s not going to go to Bio Steel camp. For one he’s likely not ready for the full deal. For two even if he was why would you want him to go risk everything for NOTHING ? Because that’s what it is ! Nothing ! He’s got weeks before he’s set to be on the ice for the Oilers. If he’s not there then we might want to worry., for this team to compete we need McDavid ! Starting the year without him might just ruin the fresh start of having new coaches, players and management. Any chance of this team rebounding revolves around a good start.

  • TKB2677

    Serious question. Did anyone expect McDavid to say anything pro or con about his knee? He could be 100% healthy today and he would have still given the same answer he gave. “My docs are great, my rehab is going well, I am working towards camp.” The guys doesn’t say squat. On the rare occasion remotely says anything, it’s national news. At the end of last season, he happened to say he was frustrated missing the playoffs again and instantly everyone was “ohh, he wants out.” So no chance he would say anything about his knee so it can get blown out of proportion. Even when all he did was say it’s going fine and he’s on schedule, it got blown out of proportion with media saying he was non committal.

  • Vanoil

    Its not necessarily the MCL itself, but the integrity of the knee. If he’s skating that means he is putting stress through the joint in controlled situations to help it adapt to its new reality. At some point he will have to let go of the training wheels, and the newly reconditioned joint will have to see if it can withstand the stress that is the NHL regular season. If it can’t, at some point it will give out and the team will have to deal with it; until then godspeed young man, the team is blessed to have you on it.

  • billsbills

    Relax and enjoy the summer. As long as it takes to recover so Connor can do the things only Connor can do is fine by me.

    Better to be safe than for this to become nagging and ultimately need surgery.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    As I always like to say, hockey players are supreme specimens of human beings: they literally heal faster than the rest of us. Not to mention the armada of doctors and specialists available to the best hockey player in the world. He’s going to be fine.

    But in the end, Gregor is right: he’s just too good. At this point I think you could take the leg from him and he’d still manage to get 80 points. While drunk.

    As for what he said at camp, as someone else mentioned, he’s not going to say anything of substance. It’s like when players are interviewed during intermissions: they’re only going to say one of, like, five things. “Stick to our game…” “Get the puck on net, traffic in front, good things will happen…” “Forecheck in the zone…” “Play a 200 foot game…” and interject; “uh” a lot.

  • Pritchard

    Jason any thoughts about the latest Toronto based writer from the Globe & Mail going off about how McDavid doesn’t look like he’s having fun anymore . The writer also goes on to suggest that if McDavid EVER wants to get his career on track …he’s going to have to ask for a trade . My thoughts ….if it were ever to come to that …and make no mistake , I sure hope it doesn’t. But that’s not the end of the Edmonton Oilers. The return on a deal for McDavid would be an unbelievably good package if done properly. Repeat …not my preferred outcome . But this Clown in the Globe & mail kinda irked me. He was basically speaking for McDavid.