Off-season storylines tend to have their tropes, like players saying that they’re entering the season “100 percent” or (gulp) “in the best shape of their life.”
Every now and then, a little more honesty bleeds into talks of injury rehabs, and it sounds like Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone acknowledges the genuine discomfort and anxiety that comes from recovering from a knee issue.
He spoke to the Arizona Republic about refraining from skating for four months, the longest span of inactivity since his childhood.
From the sound of things, he still feels his knee during this part of the process, especially when the adrenaline wears off. Could he be ready by the regular season? The answer seems to be an optimistic maybe.
“As long as I’m doing everything fine and we don’t have any issues, then I think that’s realistic,” Stone said. “But it’s so hard to tell because I’m still not doing game situations.”
Coyotes GM John Chayka seemed to share the same positive-yet-mixed feelings about Stone’s chances to come in healthy.
You have to wonder if the 26-year-old might feel a little pressure to rush back or fight through the pain. He received a one-year contract extension for $4 million, so there’s some security, yet he’s in that middle-of-the-pack where he could either earn more term or find himself approaching a journeyman path.
That’s especially true since the Coyotes loaded up on defense during the summer and seem primed to get better and better as time goes on.
It must leave Stone feeling like he’s on shaky ground even when his knee doesn’t feel too wobbly.