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MacDonald’s road to recovery

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
In recent days, Andrew MacDonald has taken strides in his recovery.

Prior to the end of the season, the Isles defenseman learned he would need hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and would miss the final seven games of the season. After the procedure, he was not allowed to do any sort of physical activity for eight weeks.

Andrew MacDonald #47 of the New York Islanders skates against the Atlanta Thrashers on March 24, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
“It was pretty frustrating, those first eight weeks,” MacDonald said. “It was good in the sense that once you’re able to start working out, you’re really looking forward to it. Any time there is a big surgery like this, it’s going to take time to recover and heal. It’s just a slow process.”

After what felt like a lifetime on the couch, MacDonald jumped into a rather aggressive physical therapy regiment, first attending five days a week and then cutting it down to just two days. Tuesday on Long Island, MacDonald met with the Islanders trainers and was cleared, without any restrictions, to start his normal workouts.

“I think I’m pretty much done at physio,” MacDonald said. “The summer is just going to progress in terms of training. I’m looking forward to lifting weights and doing plyometrics into the end of July and August.”

Earlier this month, he had his first on-ice session since Mar. 24, his final game last season. While he was happy to know he’s making progress, MacDonald said he didn’t test himself too hard.

“Garrett (Timms, the Islanders athletic trainer) told me to keep it relatively easy and very basic,” MacDonald said. “But it felt good. I didn’t have any kind of stiffness or pain. I did a couple of pivots and starts and stuff, but no real stops.”

Even though MacDonald feels he should “air on the side of caution” when it comes to testing his limitations, he’s looking forward to building the muscle back in his hips and his legs so that when training camp comes, he’ll be 100 percent healthy and more.

“This is probably the best I’ve felt at any point in years past at this point in the summer,” MacDonald said. “Obviously, I don’t think my leg strength is where I’d like it to be right now, but there’s still two months until camp so there’s still plenty of time. Things are only going to get better in terms of lifting, so I’m looking forward to being able to build on that and being ready to go for camp.”

Despite his optimism, MacDonald admitted that injuries are always somewhat on his mind. He was disappointed to end the season the way he did and is fully prepared to set some extra precautions.

“The last couple of years I’ve had some broken bones, it’s frustrating,” MacDonald said. “I’ve always said, if I’m going to be injured, best-case scenario it would be sacrificing yourself for the team. I’m going to take some more precautions this year with equipment, wearing more padding and guards for those types of situations.”

After all the injuries he’s faced in the past few seasons, to hear MacDonald is still going to put himself in those critical situations to help the team win speaks volumes. He’s fearless.
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