Siegel: Connolly's injury worse than feared

Jonas Siegel
10/13/2011 4:28:57 PM
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TORONTO - Tim Connolly's injury is worse than initially feared.

The 30-year-old centre revealed the news following a short skate at the Mastercard Centre on Thursday.

"I don't really know if it's day-to-day now," said Connolly, who has yet to play a regular season game with the Leafs this season. "It may a little bit longer, but I can't really speculate. I can't just give you a guess of how long it's going to be. I'd like to just to give you guys some more information, but whether it's a week or two weeks before I'm playing I couldn't tell you."

Injured at practice on September 26th, Connolly was initially deemed to be day-to-day with an unspecified upper-body injury. After taking a week off from practice, he returned to light participation on October 4th, but was unable to take contact and saw the injury progressively stall. He failed to complete a practice in its entirety this week and plans to withdraw from any participation in the short-term.

"That's what I did initially," he explained, "just took a few days [off] right away [and the] swelling went down, pain level went down. Then got back out there and thought it would just be pain tolerance. But it was pretty severe and that's when we realized it was going to take a little bit longer so I had to back off some of the shooting and puck-handling and even grinding up against the boards, things like that."

Connolly denied speculation that the injury was related to either his head or neck, but declined to reveal the true nature of the malady for fear of targeting on the ice. He also rejected any notion of surgery being required.

Signed to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million this summer, the Syracuse native failed to dress in either of the Leafs first two regular season games. He was projected to play alongside Joffrey Lupul and star sniper Phil Kessel in a front-line role, but Connolly has rarely seen even practice time with the duo.

The Leafs play six games in a ten-night stretch beginning on Saturday against Calgary, making his return any time soon very unlikely. 

"It depends the days," concluded Ron Wilson. "Are days on Mars longer? Right? In terms of hours? He's as far as I'm concerned day-to-day and when he's ready to play we'll let you know."

Interestingly, Connolly's checkered injury past only began to take shape after the lockout. In fact, from 1999-2000 until 2002-2003, he played in 325 games, tied for second-most in the NHL. Since that point though, he's played in only 302 games, 453rd most in that span.

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