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Will Vinny be ready for training camp?

Apparently, it is going to be a closer call than what the team acknowledged after his April 15 arthroscopic procedure on his right shoulder. Tampa Bay declared a 12- to 15-week "recovery period," but Lecavalier this week said his understanding is it will be five to six months before he is completely healed. He said it will be 12 to 15 weeks before he can work out without restrictions but five to six months before he can be cleared for contact.

As Lecavalier said, "That puts us into September."

And that could start bumping into training camp. Lecavalier, though, said he is in great hands with assistant trainer Jason Serbus, who is monitoring his rehab. Lecavalier said he can move his arm forward and sideways about 90 degrees, but reaching backwards is a problem. I thought the most telling things from today's story were that the pain has been so bad from the surgery that sleeping five hours straight was a blessing, and that he uses a golf club to help his rehab because his right arm still does not have enough strength. He holds the shaft of the club in his left hand and pushes the head of the club into his right to get some lift.

He also said he is not sure about having an arthroscopic procedure on his right wrist because the rehab on his right shoulder will be so extensive that, "I Just want to get this right." He said he played most of the season with the painful wrist, though it did not worsen, so he might just forgo that procedure all together, if he can.

That point brings up some other topics. Some of you have blogged as to your distaste that Lecavalier was even playing in the April 3 game against the Capitals in which he was hurt. It was a strange circumstance as Lecavalier was scheduled to have the wrist surgery on April 4. But as we know, Lecavalier was hurt against Washington on a questionable check by Matt Cooke.

But Lecavalier said he considered not playing only for "a fraction of a second. ... To tell you the truth. I play because the year is not over yet. That's why I play. I just care. You want to finish the season with your teammates, and that's the most important thing. ... There was talk. The surgery would have been the next morning. I said, 'Let me just play the last game against Washington. Let's do it like that.' ''

As for the hit by Cooke, who apparently was trying to hit puck-carrying Michel Ouellet but hit Lecavalier skating next to him, Lecavalier said he, kind of, doesn't believe it was intentional. Still, he said, "The way I looked at it on tape, (Ouellet) was right behind me with the puck, and (Cooke) is coming at 100 mph. He's not the cleanest player in the league. He's a dirty player. But I think it was just a combination of at the last second trying to go around me but hitting me at the same time, and me pulling up my arm to protect myself. That's what made it."

Whatever the circumstances, Lecavalier may have a tough time being ready for the start of training camp. But as GM Jay Feaster said in a statement, "We remain confident that Vinny will be ready to join us at the beginning of the 2008-09 season."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


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