TORONTO - From the moment his leg was gashed, Dion Phaneuf knew that for all his toughness, he wasn’t going to get up right away and shrug off this injury.
In fact, before the Nov. 2 game against the Ottawa Senators was over, the Maple Leafs captain briefly allowed himself to think the worst.
“When you’re sitting there on the trainer table and the orthopedic surgeon says: ‘We’ve gotta go to the (operating room)’, you’re definitely wondering,” Phaneuf said on Wednesday, the first time he spoke to the media since the injury.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.”
The innocent looking collision with Ottawa’s Peter Regin ended up cutting him to the bone and required almost two hours of surgery to repair in part because the gash — right behind his right knee — was complicated by the fact the skate nicked his medial collateral ligament.
“When you pull your pant leg up and you can see inside your leg, it’s not a very good feeling,” Phaneuf said, while showing the wound to reporters at the MasterCard Centre.
That was just the start of the troubles for Phaneuf, who has been walking without crutches the past couple of days as his rehab continues but is still weeks away from returning to action.
After three days in hospital, Phaneuf had to return when he had an allergic reaction to medication.
“It was very red at first and then it started to peel when it subsided,” Phaneuf said. “Besides the peeling, I’m on track. I’ve gone through a lot of skin.
“As soon as the skate hit me, I knew. I could feel it ... it’s why I couldn’t get up right away. I didn’t want to do any more damage.”
“It cut me right to the bone.”