The end of 2015 wasn’t kind to the Edmonton Oilers, but 2016 hold’s some promise as on the first day of the new year, rookie star Connor McDavid returned to practice with his teammates for the first time since breaking his clavicle.
McDavid’s return to practice doesn’t mean a return to the lineup is imminent, but the 18-year-old being back on the ice with his teammates does signal that his return is coming sooner rather than later. When he fell injured, the initial diagnosis was that he would miss “months.” At this point, he has been sidelined just short of that.
Post-practice, McDavid spoke with media and said he was feeling well after his first full skate and added that he felt his conditioning was still in a good place. As for where he is in his recovery, McDavid said he thinks he’ll be back sooner than expected.
“I would say definitely ahead of schedule,” McDavid said post-practice. “There’s been kind of a timeline that you try and follow and you try and reach each checkmark or progression faster than the day they said. I’ve been doing that for a little bit now, so I think, for sure, ahead of schedule.”
McDavid hasn’t played since the Nov. 3 contest in which he broke his clavicle, but he has been back on the ice since mid-December in an attempt to stay in game shape. Shortly before the holiday break, McDavid told Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Jeff Blair that he couldn’t say when he would return to action but he was progressing well.
"I feel very good," McDavid told Blair. “The bone is coming along and personally I feel good, physically I feel good and mentally I feel good "It's been all sorts of positives lately. Obviously it's not the position I'd like to be in, but it's important that you find the positives in any situation."
With any player returning from injury, however, there’s going to be concern about his level of conditioning and whether or not he’ll be in game shape when he gets back into the Oilers’ lineup. McDavid doesn’t think that should be a concern, though.
“The good thing, I guess, about this injury is it’s an upper-body injury and you can still keep the legs feeling good,” he said Friday. “I was on the bike four days after. That’s no excuse to come back out of shape or anything like that. I feel really good with my legs.”