Van Ryn out for season

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

Now that Mike Van Ryn's season is officially over, the hard-luck defenceman hopes to be able to salvage his NHL career.

Van Ryn said today that he will go under the knife next week at the Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic in his home town of London, Ont., to have osteotomy surgery on his left knee.

In the final year of his contract with the Leafs, Van Ryn will have to have a lengthy rehab of at least six months before he even can consider a comeback.

"You are hoping that a team will give you a shot, but that's the tough part of the decision, not knowing the future," Van Ryn said this morning as his teammates practised behind him at the Mastercard Centre for Hockey Excellence.

"I realize the spot I'm in is tough. You want to play, but at the same time, it's also about quality of life down the road. (Walking) up stairs are starting to get tough."

The procedure is the same one that former Detroit Red Wings star Steve Yzerman underwent in 2003. Yzerman returned, but was never the same.

Van Ryn, who has had an injury-riddled career including just 27 games in his only season with the Leafs, consulted several doctors and even chatted with Yzerman when the Leafs played the Wings in pre-season.

"He told me it wasn't as bad as it sounds," said the 30-year-old who came to the Leafs in a trade with Florida that sent Bryan McCabe to the Panthers. "He felt it was the right decision and that I would have no problem coming back.

"It was a positive talk in that respect."

Van Ryn had expected to be one of the top four defencemen for the team entering the season. He worked hard to recover from injuries this past season and tried to skate at training camp but realized that his knee was regressing from the effort.

In other Leafs injury news, forward Phil Kessel was participating in his first full practice with the team as he recovers from a shoulder injury he suffered with the Boston Bruins. And goaltender Jonas Gustavsson (groin) skated tentatively with no equipment, prior to practice.


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