Details have emerged from Los Angeles about the health of Willie Mitchell, and they’re not good.
On Monday, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter told reporters Mitchell underwent knee surgery during the lockout — adding that the veteran defenseman’s recovery is behind schedule.
“He’s way behind,” Sutter explained. “He should have been a couple of weeks. Now it’s almost seven.”
Mitchell hasn’t participated in Kings’ training camp and GM Dean Lombardi said it’s “a little harder” to put a timetable on his return, given Mitchell’s not skating.
Sutter said he was uncertain when Mitchell could even return to practice, and it’s expected he won’t be available when the Kings host Chicago in Saturday’s season opener at Staples Center.
The 35-year-old was a key contributor for the Kings a year ago, scoring a career-best 24 points in 76 games.
In the playoffs, Mitchell averaged over 25 minutes per game — second only to Drew Doughty — and led the Kings in blocked shots, with 55.
Update: As per Lisa Dillman of the LA Times, Lombardi said Mitchell had knee surgery approximately two months ago. He had resumed skating, but suffered a setback and hasn’t been back on the ice since.
Setback came from pushing too hard, too soon. Not MCL or ACL related but was apparently to remove some cartilage, DL said.
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) January 14, 2013