EDMONTON - Mike Comrie has no choice but to take things one step at a time.
What else can he do when it hurts to even walk?
ďIím just trying to get healthy,Ē said the former Oiler and 10-year NHL veteran, whose career is on hold, if not in jeopardy, while he struggles with severe hip pain. ďIn the past Iíve pushed to come back as early as possible and sometimes that catches up with you, so now Iím taking time to rehab it properly and do what I can to get healthy.Ē
Comrie had surgery to repair a torn right labrum (his second such procedure) last season and hurried back to re-join the Penguins playoff push in late March. Turns out it was too soon ó Comrie was ineffective and the hip flared up again.
ďI pushed myself too early and it didnít help,Ē he said. ďNow Iím facing rehab.Ē
He says the recovery time could take several months, if not the entire 2011-12 season.
ďBecause of the way I feel right now and the way my hip is, Iím going to re-evaluate it. Iím not sure how long that is going to take. It doesnít feel great right now, but who knows what itís going to feel like by Christmas or next summer.Ē
He admits thereís no guarantee heíll ever play again.
ďItíll depend on how the rehab goes. Playing 10 years in the NHL, almost 600 games, thereís going to be some wear and tear for everybody. After a couple of surgeries thereís a greater chance of not being 100% again.
ďBut because Iím 30 thereís still time. If I was 36 or 37 Iíd probably have a different mentality. Because I still feel young I just want to rehab it and see how I feel ó if it takes six months or a year Iíll make that decision at that time.
ďIf I do get healthy I donít want to come back and play with pain; I want to play and play well. Iíll have to make that decision at a later date.Ē
Comrieís been bothered by a hip issues, tears in the right labrum, for about five years.
ďEvery time September rolled around I would have the mentality that if I stayed on top of it Iíd be OK, but by Christmas for the last three or four years it would start to hurt again. Then it really started to deteriorate, and with the arthritis from the first surgery, itís at a point where I feel it in my every day life.
ďBefore it was just when I was training or playing. But every season it got worse and worse. Now every day itís sore. I canít train like I want to. Iíd just like to be able to walk without pain or run without a limp.Ē
A hip injury is one of the worst in hockey, limiting just about everything a player can do. Comrieís totals sagged over the last few seasons as a result.
ďYou canít protect it. Iíve played with a broken hand and a separated shoulder, you can protect those things on the ice, but when itís your hip you canít get to the puck as fast as you normally can, you canít get into positions that you used to be able to. You start to play the game differently and I donít think anybody wants to do that.Ē