It could have been ugly.
Not that gruesome, year-long knee injuries are pretty to begin with, but Marty Reasoner's crushed cartilage could have turned into a nasty battle with the Edmonton Oilers.
It didn't. And now that he's one week away from being declared officially healthy, Reasoner made a point yesterday of expressing his gratitude to the club for not turning his rehab into a nasty fight between lawyers and doctors.
"I give a lot of credit to Kevin and (athletic therapist) Kenny Lowe, they were really supportive of me the whole time," said Reasoner, who didn't hear one peep from management about the fact he still collected on his $800,000 US salary while injured.
"They could have handled the situation a lot differently, but they were really good about it. Their first objective was to make sure I got better, that was the most important thing.
"It's a credit to those two guys and to the whole organization, the way they treat people. There's a lot of other places where things might have been a little more uncomfortable. That's why guys who play here always look back and only have good things to say about being an Oiler."
The Oilers could have said he was milking it for the money, demanded a litany of second opinions or put pressure on him to hurry up and get off the payroll.
"Easily," said Reasoner, who's been skating with the Road Runners. "I was nervous when I first came out here because I didn't know how it was going to be handled. It can almost turn into a situation where you rush yourself back because you don't want to deal with the pressures that are put on you.
"That wasn't the case here. We talked it over and made sure everyone was comfortable and that I had the time I needed to get better."
Assistant GM Scott Howson said there was no other way to handle it.
"Kenny Lowe and our doctor told us what to expect, that it was going to take another three months. It's a slow, methodical process and we were willing to live with that. That was the fair thing to do and we wanted to do it."
It helped that Reasoner earned pretty much every penny of the salary he collected by flying out to Edmonton and grinding out his rehabilitation.
"Marty has been great about it too in terms of his work habits, his work ethic, trying to get better," said Howson. "He's done everything we've asked of him."