Morgan Rielly continues to make steady progress as he tries to return after having surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee on Nov. 6.
Rielly had been working hard before practices with assistant coach Trevor Weisgerber last week. Rielly had been in full equipment and doing drills skating through cones and giving and receiving passes.
Rielly’s conditioning probably isn’t where he would like it, but he’s pushing himself hard and said he has had no setbacks.
Starting Monday Rielly was a full participant in practice and while not exhibiting the explosive speed he is known for, he didn’t look off the pace. He clearly isn’t at 100 per cent, but he’s come a long way since returning to Moose Jaw and may be closer to a return than expected.
He will meet with his surgeon in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 28. Until that happens, he seems unlikely to return to the Warriors line-up. However, if he’s given the green light from doctors next week he could be back as early as Game 5 in Moose Jaw on Friday, March 30.
When he meets with his surgeon, they will discuss his progress, but Rielly said he wouldn’t be getting another MRI.
Until he is cleared to return the Warriors won’t speculate on anything to do with Rielly. Warriors head coach Mike Stothers said Rielly was “on pace” with where they had hoped he would be and they would “wait and see” about a possible return.
It is possible when he returns, he could start out on the power play. That would help him ease back into game speed and conditioning. It would also put him a in position where he can help the team and is less likely to take too much contact.
The flip side to that is that once Rielly is cleared to play, he’s such a fierce competitor, it’s hard to imagine him being able to sit and watch for long stretches.