On Saturday, Dallas Stars center Mike Ribeiro went knee-on-knee with Edmonton defenseman Theo Peckham. The collision stung a bit so Ribeiro left the game momentarily, threw on a knee brace, returned to the game and potted two goals in a 4-1 win.
It was a gutsy performance, made even more gutsy by the fact Ribeiro suffered an MCL tear on the play.
“We don’t know how he played the last game,” Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan told the Dallas Morning News. “He seems to do good when he gets injured and comes back.
“He has an MCL [tear] there, but there’s an old MCL [scar] there, so that pollutes the water of what’s actually there. He has it and he’s limping around, but Ribs thinks he can play.”
The Stars held Ribeiro out of Tuesday’s game against Anaheim — a 5-2 loss — after an MRI revealed the tear. Now Gulutzan faces the difficult decision of letting Ribeiro play through the injury, which is what the center would prefer, or keeping Ribeiro in Dallas for rehab while the Stars complete their mini two-game road trip (Dallas finishes in L.A. on Thursday.)
“He may fly in tomorrow,” Gulutzan said. “In Ribby’s case, we just don’t want Ribby to put that knee in a vulnerable situation, where guys can take a run at him and he can’t get out of the way. As far as blazing speed, that’s not part of Ribby’s repertoire…but we want him to have the ability to get away from guys.”
Even without blazing speed, Ribeiro’s been a key contributor for Dallas this season. He’s third on the team in scoring (31 points in 40 games) and second on the team in assists, with 21.