McCabe insists groin tear won't force surgery

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Injured Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe insisted yesterday he has no plans to go under the knife.

"The word surgery has never come up," McCabe said during a phone interview, referring to his MRI results and the subsequent diagnosis. "It's only a slight groin tear. It's just going to take some time, that's all.

"Having said that, how do I feel about (the injury)? It sucks. It freakin' blows."

The million-dollar question circulating in Toronto these days is: When will McCabe be back? At this point, he has no answer.

"I could wake up tomorrow and it'll be better," he said. "I just don't know.

"The problem is, if I came back too soon and forced it, it could nag me for the rest of the season. That wouldn't be very helpful for me or the team. When it feels better, I'll try to play."

McCabe, the NHL's leading scorer among defencemen, said he immediately knew "something bad had happened" when he stepped out of the penalty box during the Leafs' 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Jan. 7 at Rexall Place.

While he managed to finish the game against the Oilers, he has been out of the lineup ever since. In his absence the Leafs went 0-3 heading into last night's game against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.

"It has been frustrating to watch," he said. "To sit there and watch the guys out there and not be able to do anything about it, it's a helpless feeling.

"You try to keep a positive attitude but it's hard. And it's even tougher when we've lost a couple of games."

WORKING OUT

In the meantime, McCabe has been working out off the ice every day and claims he feels great.

"I can ride the stationary bike but I haven't skated yet," he said. "The difficulty comes when you try to push off. I just can't tell you when I can start skating again."

With this large cloud of uncertainly lingering over his head, there has been much speculation in the media concerning his status for the coming Olympics in Turin. McCabe is on the three-man taxi squad for Team Canada.

"Whatever happens happens," McCabe said. "(The Olympics) are not my primary concern right now.

"Right now my only focus is getting back and helping the Maple Leafs.

"That's my job, that's my passion. I can't wait to get back and start helping out the team again."


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