EDMONTON — Connor McDavid has not had any setbacks in his recovery from a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, and no one is saying that his return to the Edmonton Oilers will be in November or December.
That’s the good news.
Any major knee injury is a six-month rehabilitation project, however, and the Edmonton Oilers captain ran into that goalpost in Calgary on April 6. With the Oilers’ season opener set for Oct. 2 versus the Vancouver Canucks — inside six months from the date of the injury — there are no promises that McDavid will be taking the opening faceoff.
“He tore his PCL,” agent Jeff Jackson told Sportsnet.ca on Tuesday.
“For a guy like him, who relies so much on his skating his edgework, cutting back … You don’t want to have anything go wrong when you’re rehabbing. So it’s been very meticulous, very carefully orchestrated, the progression. But he’s doing really well.
“On Sept. 3, you can’t say whether he’s ready or not to start the season. He has another month before the season starts, and he’s in very good shape. No one is saying (he will be delayed) until November or December. He’s done extremely well so far, and everyone is happy with his progression.”
Barring any setbacks — “There haven’t been any setbacks,” Jackson confirmed — the rehab schedule is a six-month project. And at the five-month mark, all sides are happy with the condition of McDavid’s knee.
“Dr. (Dhiren) Naidu and (head athletic trainer) T.D. Forss went into Toronto, went to the Gary Roberts facility and spent some time with Connor. They saw Connor, examined him and were very pleased with his progress,” said Oilers general manager Ken Holland.
“Between the Oilers training staff and medical team, working together with the team Jeff Jackson has put together for Connor, certainly there are some top-notch people.
“Any decisions that are made on the timeline with Connor, it’s not going to be one person making them.”
McDavid arrives in Edmonton on Friday. He did not skate at the BioSteel camp, setting off some alarms, which is to be expected when the face of the National Hockey League opts out of an annual training session this close to the start of camp.
In a world where teams are not forthcoming about injuries and their respective timelines, it is fair for fans and media to be skeptical. But all sides reiterated this week that McDavid is on schedule, and it is quite possible he will be in the Oilers lineup on Oct. 2.
“He hasn’t had any setbacks,” Jackson promised. “He’s put a lot of time and effort into his summer, spending significant hours every day making sure he’s doing everything in his power to be ready. So far, it seems to have worked. But, if they played in two days, he wouldn’t be playing.
“He’s worked hard,” Jackson repeated. “And no setbacks.”
You can imagine that tracking McDavid’s progress isn’t something that falls through the cracks inside the Oilers’ offices. He is Edmonton’s meal ticket, a fact that everyone is well aware of.
“I’ve been updated once a week, sometimes twice, with videos. And I’ve (gone to Toronto) to see Connor three times. Decisions will be made on the conservative side,” said Holland, who expects to see McDavid on the ice for the first day of Oilers training camp next week.
“Opening night is the goal for everybody,” said Holland.
“But the bigger priority is that we’re doing what is right for Connor in the long-term.”