Morrison considers Tuesday return

Flames forward Brendan Morrison skates during practice in Calgary, Alta., Oct. 17, 2011. (MIKE...

Flames forward Brendan Morrison skates during practice in Calgary, Alta., Oct. 17, 2011. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:18 PM ET

CALGARY - Only an eternal optimist can find positives in something as serious as a torn knee ligament.

But there was Calgary Flames centre Brendan Morrison at the Westside Recreation Centre Monday afternoon, talking about how his second recovery from major surgery in a three-year span has been better than the first.

The first time I went through it, every single time you have a tweak, you think, Geez, did I do some damage? said Morrison.

All that stuffs normal. So this time, I havent had any concerns about pushing. Nothing. I have no concerns as far as the stability goes.

Im not wasting my time thinking about that.

But the 36-year-old is now thinking about playing.

Hes likely to make his season debut when the Flames host the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday night at the Saddledome (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet).

Morrison skated on a line with wingers Rene Bourque and Niklas Hagman Monday, and head coach Brent Sutter said it was up to the veteran pivot to decide when he can come back and contribute after a torn ACL in March resulted in surgery on the left knee in April.

Its his call when he feels hes capable of coming in and playing and being good health-wise and physically that he can handle the pace and everything thats involved in a game, said Sutter.

Morrison tore his right knee in 2008, so he knows exactly what hes dealing with now.

Im real close, Morrison said, not wanting to commit. Itll probably be a decision (Tuesday).

A lot of excitement. A little bit of nervousness, as well. A lot of emotions.

I feel Ive put in the work. I feel its healed. Is it 100%? No, its not 100%, but Im confident in it. I feel I can be effective with the way it is right now.

After a 1-3 start to the season, the Flames could use his presence.

Their game has been criticized by Sutter as lacking intelligence, at least consistently.

There may not be a more intelligent centre on the squad than Morrison.

Hell need to use his head more than ever if playing at less than top speed.

I think anybody will tell you, it takes probably a full year to get over it, until you feel back 100%, Morrison admitted.

The biggest thing for me right now, I would say, is that explosiveness. When I get going, Im fine, theres no issues. Its just initially. A lot of my game depends on my quickness getting in spots, getting out of spots. Thats what Ive been trying to work on the last couple of weeks, the first couple of strides.

I think its come a long way here the last month.

That being said, itll probably take a while to get back in the groove. I havent played a game since March 2.

Morrison was the middle man on the teams top line at that point, playing between Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla.

The Flames went 8-5-3 without him down the stretch, missing out on the playoffs by three points.

Signing him this summer was on the teams agenda, even with the knee issue lingering.

Hes certainly a very valuable part to our team, said Sutter. Not just on the ice but in the dressing room, too.


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