Getzlaf optimistic ankle will be fine

By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

CALGARY -- After spending a half-hour on the ice, Ryan Getzlaf was optimistic about his injured ankle.

However, the Anaheim Ducks centre couldn’t determine Friday whether he’ll be healthy enough to play this weekend for his team or for Canada at the Olympic Winter Games.

“My decision is always going to be I’m going, but the decision is that I’m progressing,” said Getzlaf. “I have to keep pushing and keep seeing how I can do and give my best chance.”

Getzlaf suffered a sprained ankle Monday, which has put in doubt his availability for Canada when the team opens the tournament Tuesday against Norway.

He skated for roughly 15 minutes Thursday and said he felt much better after the second session at the Saddledome Friday.

“There are different tape jobs and stuff we’ve been trying that are helping me progress. Crossovers were better and with a lot more strength,” he said.

Philadelphia’s Jeff Carter is tabbed to take Getzlaf’s Team Canada spot if he can’t recover in time.

A major step would be to play for the Ducks, who face the Calgary Flames Saturday night and then the Edmonton Oilers Sunday.

“I don’t know which is more likely, but I’m at a point where I want to be in the lineup one of these last two games, for sure,” said Getzlaf, who has 15 goals and 57 points in 55 games this season. “We’re making a push and these points are important for our group, as well as getting ready for the Olympics.”

Getzlaf said he’s talking daily with Steve Yzerman, the Canadian team’s executive director, and that the decision still remains his to make.

“He made it clear it’s my spot as or right now and we’ll take it day by day, as long as things are progressing the way we want them to,” Getzlaf said. “I have to be honest with him. He’s not in my shoes and he doesn’t know exactly what’s going on. We’re talking as much as we can to make sure we give Canada the best chance to win.”

He wasn’t sure whether he’d play at the Olympics without skating for the Ducks first.

“That’s kind of a last resort,” he said. “I would like to be ready for all the game and participate. The problem with that is if someone else goes down, you’re a man short.

“It’s not like you can just replace him.”

Until Getzlaf can reach a point when he can say he’s healthy enough to play, it remains an agonizing decision.

“You want to be 100% when you get there, or at least as close in the middle of the season as you can be, and at the same time he wants to be part of that team,” said Ducks and Canadian team captain Scott Niedermayer, who had to back out of the 2006 tournament due to injury. “It’s a tough spot for him and a tough spot for the coaches as well, but hopefully he’ll get close to 100% and be ready to go.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

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