Sometimes a broken leg can keep a player down for for more than just a few months, sometimes that leg is never the same again. In a positive change, that’s not the case for forward Cal O’Reilly.
When speaking with him during Saturday’s opening training camp sessions, O’Reilly noted how he hadn’t just recovered from the injury, however he was in perfect condition, “I feel 100%. No problems with the leg or ankle, it feels great.”
Usually saying you are 100% can be a little misleading to read into as you’ll never know until you really hit the on-ice competition, but the amount of rehab O’Reilly did during his injury can be indicative of just how hungry he is to get back on the ice. “It was tough, but it was something I had to do,” O’Reilly said, “I pushed it as hard as I could to get it back as quickly as possible, and I feel like it’s really paid off. All that hard rehab, but [my knee is] just as good as my other one now.”
What’s most surprising is that he’s yet to watch the video of exactly how he went down with the broken leg. “I’ve seen a few pictures, but I’ve never seen the video,” O’Reilly said, but he knew immediately when he went down that it wasn’t a simple injury, “I knew right away it was something bad. Shock set in a little bit, the pain was immediate, but then it kind of goes away, and it goes from there. I knew it was bad right away.” O’Reilly, for those that forgot, broke his fibula in a 4-1 win against Columbus back in January
Yet, with all the pain O’Reilly went through last season after such a tremendous start, he’s ready to come back and give it his all again this year to get the Predators where they need to be.
“I want to stay healthy and have a start like I did last year and just grow from there,” O’Reilly said, “Stay consistent and contribute offensively as much as I can”
O’Reilly took the time he was out while injured to reflect on the Predators stretch run and their post-season success. “You get to see playoff hockey every day. You take stuff from that,” said O’Reilly, “When we get there this year, I’ll have that experience of being there for really two playoffs and I’m looking forward to this year.”
However, the Toronto, Ontario native understands that the coaching staff’s decision to not put him in the line-up was best for the team at the time saying, “I missed a lot of hockey and it’s tough throwing a guy in during playoff time especially when the team is doing so great.”
Although O’Reilly had 18 points in 38 games before breaking his leg, the 25 year old is ready to continue what he started last season. He’s not only remaining positive and up-beat about the upcoming season, but his attitude shows that he’s ready to help Nashville push forward to get back and move past last season’s adventure into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I’ve come back, I’m hungry, and I want to have a good start like I did last year and stay healthy and keep going all year helping these guys win,” O’Reilly said.
Nashville not only will benefit from having Cal O’Reilly back, but they desperately need the added offense which ended up 22nd in the league at the end of the regular season last year.
We’ll get a real taste of how the leg has healed during tomorrow’s double header against Florida. O’Reilly is penciled in the second game’s lineup slated to begin at 6:30pm CST.