Losing NLL star to injury like NHL 'without Crosby'

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

While Tracey Kelusky is pumped to return to the Calgary Roughnecks healthy this season, he is also trying to fathom a weird injury to one of his best friends.

And the strange incident that will keep John Grant Jr. from playing this season for the Rochester Knighthawks is much different from the concussion that hampered the Calgary Roughnecks captain last year.

Kelusky was playing with his childhood pal Grant for the Peterbrough Lakers this summer when Grant needed emergency surgery on his knee.

An infection from Grant's elbow spread to his surgically-repaired ACL, which came from a cadaver.

"It was Game 7 (of the OLA finals) and I phoned him to see when he was picking me up. He said 'I'm not, I'm in the hospital,' " said Kelusky, who re-signed for his seventh season with the Riggers. "The infection attacked that part of his knee where he had the ACL from a cadaver. The tissues didn't connect to the other tissues. It went and attacked the weakest part."

Grant had the ligament removed and will need another ACL reconstruction after spending the next month or so recovering in bed.

While the Lakers were battling the Brampton Excelsiors for the right to play for the Mann Cup, Grant suffered a cut on his elbow and inflammation to the joint.

After every game, Kelusky said Grant's elbow would swell up and need to be drained.

It seemed normal until Grant's knee started doing the same thing.

"The way it happened is obviously devastating. With John being like a brother to me, it's tough. I know he's looking forward to the challenge of coming back," said Kelusky.

Kelusky expects Grant to return to the league better than ever, much the same way he expects to redeem himself this season.

Even with the concussion that kept him out nearly two months, Kelusky was disappointed in only getting 25 points in seven National Lacrosse League outings.

"Last year's games were a blur," Kelusky said. "I wasn't used to the speed of the game and wasn't able to react. I need to see two plays ahead. It took me 12 to 15 games during the summer to get it back, as well."

Although the Riggers won't play the Knighthawks this season unless they meet in the final, not having Grant in the league is a blow.

"When you are losing a player of John's calibre, it sets us all back," Kelusky said. "I believe he's the best player in the world. What would the NHL be like without Sidney Crosby? It would be a different league. We're losing our Crosby for a long time."

QUICK STICKS

The Roughnecks inked No.-1 goalie Pat Campbell to a one-year deal yesterday. The team also signed Tyler Pridham and Eric Lamothe to one-year deals. Pridham was captain of the junior A Calgary Mountaineers.


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