Carlo sees better days

Despite Carlo Colaiacovo's optimism, the true litmus test will come when he steps on to the ice for...

Despite Carlo Colaiacovo's optimism, the true litmus test will come when he steps on to the ice for the first set of intense drills. (Sun File/Greg Henkenhaf)

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

If Carlo Colaiacovo can move as nimbly on the ice as he did in meeting and greeting the public at an autograph session yesterday, the young Maple Leafs defenceman and his surgically repaired right knee should be ready for the opening of training camp in less than three weeks.

Having undergone arthroscopic surgery on the knee on April 28, Colaiacovo resumed skating a couple of weeks ago and is encouraged that he will be in camp shape when his Leafs congregate for their first workout at Ricoh Coliseum on Sept. 13.

"I'm not going to put a percentage on my progress but yes, I want to believe that I'll be fit and all set to go when camp opens," Colaiacovo said. "I'm not going to force the issue but I'm going to believe that."

Despite Colaiacovo's optimism, the true litmus test will come when he steps on to the ice for the first set of intense drills.

A year ago, Colaiacovo lasted only about 20 minutes on the opening day of camp before he became woozy and needed to be helped to the dressing room. It was suspected that the Toronto-area native might have been suffering the after-effects of a concussion he had suffered eight months earlier.

This time around, Colaiacovo is confident with the progress made by the knee, which was first banged up during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning back in March.

"We all thought it would get better with time but it got worse," Colaiacovo said. "It had to be addressed."

Saddled with a series of injuries in his young career, Colaiacovo bristles when asked about his so-called reputation of being brittle.

"I'm at the stage of life where I don't want to talk about that," Colaiacovo said. "I prefer to look ahead, not back."

Such as looking ahead to how he will spend some of the cash he netted in a three-year, $3.85 million US deal he signed in the summer.

"I can't thank the Leafs enough," Colaiacovo said. "There is no where I would rather play than in my home town."


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