Stars captain Jamie Benn underwent surgery for a core muscle injury on July 14 and doctors put the recovery time at six weeks. Well, six weeks is up and Benn has started to ramp up his workouts as he prepares for the 2016-17 season.
Benn has been skating, but this has been his most ambitious week since the surgery. He is expected to put in four days of on-ice work.
"First full week on the ice," Benn said. "It all depends on how your body feels and that's why I have stepped it up here. I am feeling a little bit better."
Benn suffered the core muscle injury earlier this summer while training.
"It just didn't feel right, and I knew something was kind of wrong," Benn said a couple of weeks after the surgery. "I had to get it dealt with sooner than later, so we did that."
He underwent surgery in Philadelphia the same week he put his name on an eight-year, $76 million contract extension that will take effect in 2017-18. The rehabilitation has gone well, and as expected.
"It started off pretty slow like it does after most surgeries," Benn said, "but it is starting to pick up this week, and I am moving forward."
After the surgery, the Stars said they would wait for the six-week recovery period to conclude and then make a decision on Benn's availability for next month's World Cup of Hockey. Earlier this week, the Stars told Team Canada Benn wouldn't be able to play at the tournament. Benn said he could have pushed it to try to be ready for Canada's training camp, which opens Sept. 5 in Ottawa, but said he wanted to keep his focus on getting healthy for the Stars' season.
"It's a little bit disappointing," Benn said of missing the World Cup. "I wanted to be there and be part of that team. It's the first time in 12 years that they've done [the World Cup], and I think it's a unique tournament the way they set up the teams, but I think you have to look at the bigger picture, and that's being healthy for our season here in Dallas."
San Jose forward Logan Couture will replace Benn on Canada's roster and the Dallas captain will turn his attention to getting ready for Stars' training camp, which opens Sept. 23 in Cedar Park.
"Now, I have an extra four weeks (before training camp) to keep moving forward and progressing with my rehab and be ready to go," Benn said.
And there are signs that camp and the season are getting closer. Players have started to trickle back into town and are holding informal skates in Frisco. Benn said it was nice to see his teammates around again.
"Yeah, it's been a little quiet around here all summer," he said. "We've got a few guys in here, and that's nice. We're starting to push each other now."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.