CALGARY -- Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said he wasn't sure how his right knee would react to running around on the fiberglass ball hockey floor at Canada Olympic orientation camp this week, but he came away from his second day of walk-throughs no worse for wear.
"I feel better than I thought I would, so that's good," Staal told NHL.com Tuesday night.
Staal said he has been feeling better than he thought he would since mid-July. That's when he said he got on the ice for the first time since sustaining his knee injury May 16 in the quarterfinals of the 2013 IIHF World Championship, where Sweden defenseman Alex Edler clipped him with a knee-on-knee hit that left the him writhing in pain and seething mad.
Edler, who plays for the Vancouver Canucks, was suspended for the remainder of the World Championship and for the first two games of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"I was worried the first time I went on the ice just how I'd feel because a lot of guys who went through this injury say, 'You're going to feel it, it's going to feel differently,'" Staal said. "But, seriously, the first time I went on the ice I felt pretty close to how I normally would. I was ginger with it, but after being on the ice a bunch of times I don't think I'll even think about it once we start [training camp]."
Staal said the doctors told him he came perilously close to breaking his leg. His femur and tibia in his right leg smashed together so hard on the impact of Edler's hit it caused fractures in each of the bones.
Staal was on crutches for about two weeks and went what he called "a long, long time" without bending his knee.
"So, it was a significant injury and it took me a while to get over it, but I'm good now," Staal said. "I'm foreseeing no issues come training camp in two weeks and I'm going to treat it like I normally would any other training camp."