By Kyle Shohara
Photos from Practice
A collective sigh of relief was exhaled this morning when an MRI revealed that Corey Perry suffered no significant damage to his knee following a hip check in Friday’s game at Minnesota.
Although he is expected to miss three to four weeks, Perry is optimistic that his recovery will be quicker than expected.
“It was just a sprained knee,” said Perry. “It just takes a little time for everything to heal up. Hopefully it’s not too long and it’s quicker than what I expect.”
Perry says his knee was “pretty stiff” on Saturday, but there is already noticeable improvement. “Each day since then has gotten better,” he said. “If it continues to increase at this speed, hopefully it’s over quicker than what we’re expecting. We’re thankful there aren’t any tears.”
As for a rehab schedule, Perry says he’s already been in the gym doing work, albeit cautiously. “I’m getting back into it right away,” he said. “I just have to be careful on what I do with the knee. There’s not much to do for rehab other than letting it heal and calm down.”
Although there is never a good time for an injury during the season, Perry’s was untimely because Anaheim’s upcoming road trip through Canada would’ve given him an opportunity to return home for the only time this season. Perry is from Peterborough, Ontario, and the Ducks will play Toronto on Dec. 16. “It kind of sucks,” he said. “That’s the hard part, not being able to go there and play in front of your family and friends. Everybody already has their tickets. It’s too bad I won’t be there.”
Taking his place on the top line this afternoon during practice was Devante Smith-Pelly, a decision Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says makes sense. That’s because Boudreau likes his three other sets of wing combinations (Matt Beleskey-Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Cogliano-Jakob Silfverberg, and Patrick Maroon-Tim Jackman).
“Corey isn’t going to be replaced, but someone has to go in there and do his job,” Boudreau said. “Smith-Pelly is a natural right winger even though he was doing well at center. He was the leading scorer in Norfolk last year and he was a 50-goal scorer in junior. We know he has good hands.”
Rounding out the top line was Rene Bourque, who scored his first goal as a Duck in the team’s 4-3 overtime victory at Winnipeg on Sunday. “I thought he played his best game as a Duck in Winnipeg, not just because he scored,” said Boudreau. “I told him he played 15 minutes because he earned 15 minutes.”
Goaltender John Gibson practiced with the team this afternoon, an encouraging sign in the young netminder’s recovery. The 21-year-old was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 4 for a groin injury that occurred during pregame warm ups prior to Anaheim's road game at Colorado on November 2.
Today was Gibson’s first practice with the team since being placed on IR.
“It was fun to play hockey for the first time in a while,” said Gibson. “First day back in a while, so I’m trying to shake the rust off. I’ve been doing a lot of work in weight room, making sure I stay in shape.”
Gibson says he can do everything normally now and that’s it’s just a matter of how his body reacts in the days that follow. “You never really know until the second day,” he said. “It’s all about how I feel. That’s the main factor right now. It was my first day back so I don’t want to push it too much.”
Also on the ice for practice were goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Igor Bobkov.