Slight groin tear frustrating for McCabe

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

DENVER -- A small tear might rip apart Bryan McCabe's Olympic dream.

A recent MRI indicated McCabe has a slight muscle tear of the groin, leaving Tomas Kaberle to carry the bulk of responsibility on the Toronto blue line.

Given the fact that the Maple Leafs already were thin on defence, general manager John Ferguson is said to be scouring the marketplace in an attempt to augment the back end.

Ferguson confirmed the nature of McCabe's injury during a phone interview from Ottawa last night.

"Bryan's progress is very good. His strength and power are returning," Ferguson said.

Asked if there was any chance McCabe might be back in time for games against the Senators in Ottawa either Saturday or Monday, Ferguson replied "If he's ready, he'll go. He'll be back when he's ready."

Facing the Sens seems far-fetched, especially since the Leafs want to guard against the possibility of McCabe being re-injured and finding himself on the shelf indefinitely.

In fact, behind closed doors, some in the organization feel McCabe is a long shot to be ready for Turin.

McCabe was injured while leaving the penalty box during a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 7.

"Bryan has a lot of pride and he showed it by finishing that game," Jeff Solomon, McCabe's agent, said last night.

"He'll be back when he's capable of playing at 100%. He doesn't want to have any lingering effects."

McCabe is on the taxi squad of the Canadian Olympic team, but a long-term ailment could cause team officials to look elsewhere for help.

The focus on Kaberle intensifies with McCabe's absence.

"For sure we are always going to miss Bryan, but it's better that he takes some time," Kaberle said. "We don't want him coming back too early and then hurting himself again."

Kaberle admits playing 30 minutes per game takes its toll.

"You get tired at the end of the game, but if you take care of yourself you are ready the next day," he said.

"There are many leaders in this room and hopefully I'm one of them."


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