Donovan hopes to play soon despite torn ACL

DON BRENNAN, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. — Details of the latest on their laundry list of injuries had just been reported to the media when Shean Donovan — the first of those fallen Senators who are still down — quietly confirmed he has a torn ACL in his right knee.

Not good. When the popular winger was sent to the sidelines by a Matt Cooke hit Nov. 19, the diagnosis was he had a torn MCL that would keep him out of action for 6-8 weeks, much like the sorry situation Jason Spezza is now in.

In Donovan’s case, the word was it might be at least that long before it can be determined if there was also ACL damage and, if so, the 34-year-old veteran’s season could be over, if not his career.

So why, then, was he flashing that big toothless grin of his?

“It’s like a deficient ACL,” Donovan said proudly.

Huh?

“I have no ACL, pretty much,” he explained. “So I’m just going to play without one.”

Why not?

“They think that I damaged it before,” Donovan continued. “I damaged it more (Nov. 19), but they figure I kind of learned how to use muscles around it, to make up for it.”

Which is why he was able to skate Thursday for the first time since the injury.

“I was pretty excited,” Donovan said.

“I was pushing for it every day and finally got the okay (Wednesday night). I felt good out there. I didn’t feel any different, other than winded from not skating for the last four weeks. Maybe I’ll have some payback later, need surgery later in life, but right now ... I’ll deal with that later.”

To work himself into game shape could still take Donovan a couple of weeks, which is how long Nick Foligno is expected to be shelved after having arthroscopic surgery Friday to repair a small miniscus tear in his right knee. Foligno, who sat out Wednesday’s win over the Sabres, will try to extend his three-game point-scoring streak (one goal, three assists) when he returns.

Coach Cory Clouston said the 22-year-old had “played his best hockey of the year the last few games, for sure.”

Foligno, a healthy scratch in Los Angeles Dec. 3, has six goals and eight assists for 14 points, tying him with Filip Kuba for sixth on the team.

“I was happy with the way I was playing,” Foligno said.

“I felt I was more confident. I was playing the way I know I’m able to. That’s the biggest thing for me. Confidence. Playing my game. Maybe it took making me a healthy scratch to realize that. I thought I was playing pretty good up until then, but when that happened, it kind of opened up my eyes a little more.”

The Senators will try to rally around the fallen troops once again Friday night when they take on New Jersey at the Prudential Center. The Devils have won six of their last seven, and the Senators will be facing Martin Brodeur, whose 103 career shutouts are tied with Terry Sawchuk’s mark for the most ever. Tonight, Brodeur will play his 1,030th NHL game, moving him past Patrick Roy into first place alone on the all-time list.

“When he is on his game, he’s fun to watch,” Clouston said of Brodeur. “And we’re going to make his life as miserable as possible, or try anyway.”

And then, interrupting one of his interrogators, Clouston snickered as he masterfully stated the obvious.

“No,” he said. “We don’t want him to shut us out.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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