In addition to modeling the new uniforms the Carolina Hurricanes unveiled Tuesday and will wear beginning next season, center Eric Staal also discussed with the media his knee injury that will require a few months to fully heal.
"It's coming along -- a slower process than I thought and hoped," Staal, the team's captain, told the Raleigh News & Observer. "Definitely progress from where it was. It's only been two-and-a-half weeks since being hurt. A ways to go, but I'm making the right steps. It's still slow in terms of trying to bend and flex the way I normally do."
Staal sustained a third-degree sprain of the right medial collateral ligament in April while playing for Canada at the IIHF World Championship after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Sweden's Alexander Edler. The Vancouver Canucks defenseman was suspended for the remainder of the tournament for gold medal-winning Sweden.
Staal said he didn't feel the hit by Edler was clean but feels fortunate there wasn't any further damage.
"To be honest, I'm unsure of what he was trying to do," Staal said. "I wouldn't classify it as a clean hit. I don't know what his intentions were. In the replay, it wasn't a smart hit. My knee was extended and he runs right into it.
"I don't know if he intentionally meant it as a dirty hit, but it looks as though that's what it is. Whether his intentions were to injure me on the play, obviously no one likes to think anyone tries to purposely do that. But it was not a clean hit."
Staal told the newspaper he would be ready for the start of preseason training camp. He said he's doing some stationary bike work for now and hopes to be skating again by late July or early August.
"I guess the way I was squirming around was a good thing," he said. "If I wasn't, they say it probably would have been a full-blown ACL and the rest of it. It could have been a lot worse."
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