CHICAGO -- Steve Staios feels like he's wrestling with an invisible injury that he can't treat.
The concussion symptoms that kept him out of the third game of the season are still bothering him. He came back for one game against the Canadiens and woke up the next morning feeling like he just had his bell rung all over again and had to sit out Monday in Nashville.
"It's just sort of lingering symptoms -- it's not getting worse but it's not getting better," he said after practising yesterday in Chicago. "I didn't get hit or anything during the (Montreal) game, I felt good. But the next day it was sort of back to the same symptoms.
"It's really frustrating because you feel you can go back out there and get the job done."
Teams and trainers have more information now on the dangers and long-term effects of head injuries, so they're being a lot more cautious than they were in the old days.
"They put in all the checks to sort of protect players from themselves," he said. "That's the situation I'm in. I really want to be out there playing and still feel like I can play well -- that game against Montreal I felt pretty good -- but at the same time you have to think a little bit long term and just be smart with it. That's the advice I'm taking right now."
Quinn says they're definitely not going to rush this.
"Staios, that's one kid I'd never question," said Quinn. "But he is feeling punk and we don't want to take any chances with anybody, never mind a courageous guy like him."
With Staios out, defenceman Taylor Chorney flew up from the AHL and had a pretty nice debut against the Predators. He logged 14:29, including power play and penalty killing time, in the third game of his NHL career (he played two games last year) and picked up his first career assist.
"It was fun, it was definitely good to get out there and play the first game of the year and get a win, too," he said, adding that when it got to 4-0 and 5-0 he could relax and play his game without having to worry that his next mistake might cost them a win.
"When everybody is ready to go like that it makes it a lot easier on a guy like me who doesn't have much experience. It made the transition a lot easier."
He's living proof that training camp matters, even when the numbers game has you destined for the AHL before a single blade touches the ice.
With seven defencemen already in place when Oilers camp opened, Chorney knew he was planting seeds more than planting roots. Five games later, they sprouted.
"Training camp is different for me than for a guy who's been in the league for five years. Even if you do get sent down you're still on the radar screen and unfortunately injuries do happen. It's nice to know that you're the guy in line to get called up."
He has no clue what happens next. It all depends on how Staios is feeling. Could be a start against the Hawks for Chorney, could be a seat in the press box, could be a plane trip back to Springfield.
"No idea. I might walk out of here tomorrow, so I'm just trying to take it one day at a time and enjoy it as much as possible, learn as much as I can while I'm around."
And his first point? He's being rather low key about it.
"It actually wasn't that nice of an assist," he said. "I just rimmed it around the boards ... but I'll take it."