As training camp begins, two notable players will not be joining their teammates in practice and instead will be skating together on their on. One is Nicklas Backstrom who underwent hip surgery soon after the season ended. The other is a surprise, mid-summer addition to the injury report, Brooks Orpik.
Orpik underwent wrist surgery in late July, which came as a surprise not just because of the timing, but because there was no prior indication that anything was wrong with his wrist. Said Orpik, it was a situation that developed throughout the season.
"It was something that just progressively got worse and worse," Orpik said, "but it wasn't one time where I remember doing anything."
Orpik thought surgery wouldn't be necessary until the summer when it "pulled off the bone." Not surprisingly, that's not the kind of thing you can just fix on your own.
Now the veteran's availability for the start of the season is in some jeopardy because of the late surgery. So why did he wait so long before getting the procedure done?
"I think people just think we're like robots," Orpik said. "You just get operated on whenever you want. Surgery's always your last option. You try to rehab it as much as you can."
The original timetable Oripk was given after his surgery was eight weeks. It will be eight weeks as of Tuesday. That is not a timetable for when he will be ready to play, however, but a timetable for when the wrist will be healed.
There's still a long way to go before the wrist is ready for the rigors of an NHL season. Orpik still needs to build up his strength and range of motion. He also is hoping to be back for the preseason.
"It's a possibility. I would love to."
When's the last time you heard a professional athlete say that?
"I think it's tough to jump right into regular season games whenever you're out with an injury, especially at the beginning of the year. [Playing in the preseason] would be ideal, but at the same time, I'm not going to be stupid with it and push it any further or faster than I have to."