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McDavid will make 'right decisions' on injury with Oilers, Draisaitl says

Center has no timetable for return after tearing PCL in left knee April 6

by @NHLdotcom

Connor McDavid will "make the right decisions" when it comes to returning from a knee injury, Edmonton Oilers teammate Leon Draisaitl said Wednesday.

McDavid said Monday that he has no timetable to return from the torn PCL he sustained April 6 during the Oilers' season finale against the Calgary Flames but that he was "just working hard to get to [training] camp."

Draisaitl said he believes the center will handle the injury properly.


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"I'm not too concerned," the forward said at BioSteel Camp in Toronto. "Obviously, it was a major injury that needs to be healed fully to get back into contact, and I think he has people around him that know exactly what schedule he's on and know exactly what he needs and what he doesn't need. I think, again, that's his decision, and I think -- I know -- that he will make the right decisions."

McDavid said Monday he will not return until he is confident his knee is back to normal.

"It's coming back together and everything like that, but ultimately you don't want to come back too early," he said. "(You want to) make sure it's fully healed and you're not going to get hurt again."

Oilers general manager Ken Holland said June 14 that the injury would not require surgery and that he expected McDavid to be healthy by the start of training camp, which begins the second week of September. McDavid agreed with the GM four days later at NHL Awards Media Day, saying Holland "nailed it" and that he had nothing further to add.

McDavid was much more noncommittal about his situation Monday. He said he's been back on the ice for the past two months, including a skate earlier that day at the Gary Roberts High Performance Training Program in Aurora, Ontario, where he spends his offseasons working out.

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Holland, speaking to the Edmonton Sun on Monday, said McDavid "is progressing well. Our training staff and I have been in regular communication with McDavid's camp."

When asked if McDavid could miss the first couple of days of on-ice work at camp, the GM said, "We'll see."

Draisaitl set NHL career highs with 50 goals, 55 assists and 105 points last season, when he was a frequent linemate of McDavid. He said it doesn't matter to him whether he plays with McDavid or is the center on another line under new coach Dave Tippett.

"The coach is going to tell me where to play, and I'll play my best wherever that is," he said. "Might be at center, might be on the wing. It'll switch throughout the season anyway."

McDavid was a finalist for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP last season after he had an NHL career-high 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists), second to Hart winner Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning (128 points).

Tippett told The Athletic last month that he plans to reduce McDavid's and Draisaitl's time on the penalty kill to keep them fresher at 5-on-5 and on the power play. McDavid (22:50) and Draisaitl (22:35) were first and second among NHL forwards in time on ice per game last season.

"That's the coach's decision," Draisaitl said. "Me and Connor, we've always been the type of players that come to the rink and we try our best wherever we're needed, if it's PK, power play, 5-on-5, whatever it is. So if that's the case, then so be it, but if he needs us to kill penalties, then we're there for that too."

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