Wray back in the circle

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:53 PM ET

Making the cut at this year's Calgary Roughnecks training camp hasn't been a concern for Devan Wray.

Being able to make a cut, however, was.

The 26-year-old defender is making a comeback after having off-season surgery to repair a torn ACL. The injury ended Wray's season a month into the 2005 National Lacrosse League campaign.

Wray -- the team's No. 1 faceoff man -- went through a rigorous off-season rehab schedule but said getting back on the floor in full-fledged practices has been a battle.

After two weekends of camps on the West Coast, the Riggers return to the Stampede City this weekend for two days of camp.

"It's a frustrating process," said Wray.

"There's really nothing you can do on your own to replicate game-type situations. So, the first few weekends were tough. The doctors tell you to take it slow but once you step on the floor, you can't. You get into that competitive mode and there's not much holding back."

That has led to a lot of swelling and many bags of ice but Wray said after each on-floor session, the swelling has been less pronounced and the knee has continually recovered quicker.

"I think I'll be a 100 percent when the season opens against Edmonton (Jan. 13 at the Saddledome)," said Wray. "I have no doubt in that."

Wray was one of three defenders to go down for the year because of knee injuries along with Ryan McNish and Andy Ogilvie. Though blessed with players who can take faceoffs, Calgary was without a top drawman after Wray went down, so it signed Jordan Sundher to finish out the season.

The team has since dealt Sundher to the expansion Edmonton Rush and Calgary coach Chris Hall said they have full confidence Wray will return to form this season.

"Devan's an integral part of our team and we're looking forward to him stepping back in right where he left off," said Hall.

Wray shares his coach's confidence.

"I fell as quick as ever," said Wray. "And not having a stick in my hands for a year was maybe good for me. During the last few weekends, I've felt as sharp as ever. Now, it's just getting re-acquainted with the boys and the systems and getting comfortable on the floor again and it's coming along real fast."

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QUICK STICKS: The Roughnecks will have 30 players at camp this weekend and head coach Chris Hall said cuts will come next week.

"We have to start making some decisions as soon as possible," said Hall, whose club can carry 23 players and three more on a practice roster. "I want to get down to 26 guys and start getting into our systems. We don't have a whole heckuva lot of time to polish that up. So, I think after this weekend we'll be trimming down to pretty close to what we're going to go with."

On a side note, veteran defender Grant Hamilton -- who missed last season due to work commitments as a Victoria police officer -- is expected in camp this weekend.


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