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Karlsson says he may miss Senators opener

Defenseman hopes to return in October following surgery to repair torn tendons in left foot on June 14

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is planning to make his 2017-18 season debut in October, but playing opening night is a long shot because he still hasn't skated since having surgery on four torn tendons in his left foot June 14.

The Senators open the season against the Washington Capitals at Canadian Tire Centre on Oct. 5.

"Once I start skating, you never know how quick things will develop," Karlsson said. "If everything is healed, I should be fine to push it by then, but if I don't feel ready, it's probably going to be better for me not to start the season. But I'll be back sometime in October for sure."

Karlsson said he is just now starting to ramp up his off-ice workouts to get back into playing shape. His doctors told him he wasn't allowed to do anything with his lower body in the months following surgery.

Video: Erik Karlsson updates status for start of the season

However, the Senators captain remains limited in what he can do because his surgical scar has not fully healed. He still is walking with a slight limp, especially when he wears dress shoes.

"The scar is right where the foot bends," Karlsson said. "It's still a little bit open, which is kind of annoying sometimes, so I wear a lot of sandals."

Karlsson, though, isn't surprised and doesn't appear to be angry about his lengthy rehabilitation process. He said he was told by doctors his recovery likely would take four months, but that he should be able to eventually get back to being the type of player he has been in the NHL.

Karlsson has won the Norris Trophy twice and was the runner-up last season. He even received one third-place vote for the Conn Smythe Trophy last season despite the Senators being eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.

Video: Discussing Erik Karlsson's injury

Karlsson finished the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 19 games despite playing the entire postseason with two hairline fractures in his left heel and muscle damage in his ankle, injuries that led to a postseason MRI that revealed the damage to his tendons.

"Since I lost all my tendons and I have an artificial one, that's why I need to take time to make sure my body adapts to the new thing in me," Karlsson said. "I'd rather take a little bit of extra time to make sure it doesn't jeopardize my future."

Karlsson said in a normal offseason he doesn't need much time to get back into game shape after he resumes skating, so he's hopeful the same thing happens this year. 

"My expectations are to come back as healthy as I was before the injury, so that's the primary goal," Karlsson said. "When that is we don't really know."

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