ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Matt Dumba doesn't have an updated timeline for his return from surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, but the Minnesota Wild defenseman is confident he'll be at full strength when he does.
"I'll be back," he said Friday, wearing a brace around his right arm. "I'll be back eventually, whether it's this year or next, and I'll do the same thing. I'm not worried."
Dumba left during the first period of a 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames on Dec. 15 with a ruptured right pectoral muscle. He had surgery on Dec. 26 and is expected to miss at least three months.
"My whole mentality was just like, hey, if you can get through this first period you can go to the doctor check it out, maybe get something to support it brace-wise, get something just to take the edge away from this pain," he said of the injury. "Once I took my shirt off to show the doctors, it was basically no go from there."
Dumba will have to wear the brace for a few more weeks before the next steps in rehabilitation or an assessment for the possibility of a return can be done. He's been told to keep movements to a minimum to allow the muscles to heal properly on their own.
"It's pretty slow to start here," he said. "Everything is just letting it heal, letting it get the rest that it needs. That's our focus right now. I've been doing that and making sure this repairs the right way."
The 24-year-old led NHL defensemen with 12 goals when he was injured and had 22 points in 32 games.
Dumba recently started being around the team again. The Wild (23-21-3) are 6-9-1 since losing Dumba, including 2-3-0 in their past five games. They lost 3-0 at home to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and are even in points with the Edmonton Oilers and Ducks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. They are one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for third place in the Central Division and one behind the Dallas Stars for the first wild card.
He said he'll try to do whatever he can to help.
"It is frustrating, but I've come down to the fact that I can't do anything about it right now," Dumba said. "I can help my teammates by being positive and the guy that I always am in the locker room and just kind of giving feedback, from a coaching standpoint I guess -- not saying I'm a coach or anything -- but I think it's good just begin able to be around the guys again and talk to them."