Kris Versteeg is ready to go.
That’s the news out of Florida on Wednesday, and it’s no small news — Versteeg has been medically cleared to return to game action for the first time since tearing his ACL in March.
Recovering from major knee surgery in six months? Pretty impressive. How did he manage to pull it off?
“I’ve talked to a lot of guys who have had it done like [Tomas] Kopecky and [Scottie] Upshall, you just trust their opinion, more so you got to trust your doctor, trust your surgeon what he did to you is going to make you better first, and understand that and go through your physical therapy,’’ Versteeg told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “The staff here in Florida did a tremendous job with me the first two months, then I went home [to Lethrbridge] and worked with a guy named Tim back home and my own trainer and they got me to where I am today.”
Versteeg, 27, tore up his knee during a game against Tampa Bay on Mar. 12 and underwent surgery shortly thereafter. While some thought he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season, Versteeg — third on the Panthers in scoring (54 points) during the 2011-12 campaign — trained extensively over the summer to get healthy.
Now he figures to be a big part of a young Florida team looking to make amends for last year’s disastrous 30th-place finish.
“It’s definitely a lot of commitment,” Versteeg said. “I’m excited to what I can do this year.’’
Versteeg will make his preseason debut on Thursday in Tampa Bay.