Scattered Clouds 42° Good Morning
Scattered Clouds 42° Good Morning

Avery off crutches, says he will be ready for opener

Rangers winger Sean Avery fights off a check

Rangers winger Sean Avery fights off a check from the Capitals' Brian Pothier during the 2009 playoffs. Photo Credit: David L. Pokress

Sean Avery had ditched the crutches and was walking around the Rangers' dressing room Wednesday with no notable signs of pain.

Avery, who twisted his right knee on Monday, had an MRI on Tuesday that he said "came up clean." Though there is no timetable for his return to practice, he did say he expects to be playing in the season opener at Pittsburgh on Oct. 2.

Avery called the injury, the result of a collision with Ryan Callahan, a fluke. He said he saw Callahan skating toward him but couldn't figure out which path he was taking, so he failed to get out of the way. Avery said he is a "fast healer" and did not seem terribly worried about the situation.

"Hopefully, I'm getting my injury out of the way now so it doesn't happen during the season," he deadpanned.

Avery will undergo a treatment Thursday where doctors inject his own blood into the tissue around his knee in an effort to speed up the recovery.

Though he didn't skate Wednesday, he did do some upper body training during practice.

Staying off the ice, however, didn't keep Avery away from weighing in on the state of the team. When a reporter asked him about coach John Tortorella's recent comments that he was disappointed the Rangers were tired in the first round of the playoffs last season, Avery had an interesting take on what happened at the end of the year.

"It was a tough situation. I think it was a long year," he said. "I think that there was a lot of smoke and mirrors with the team. I don't think it was as close as a lot of people indicated.

"I think when a new coach comes in it's always tough to adjust. I thought we did a really good job with it. We went from being a non-playoff situation to making the playoffs."

Avery said he believes this season's group is closer, and that it helps to be going through training camp with Tortorella.

Said Avery: "It seems like the guys are all excited about being together. A lot of teams say that, but it's not always true. I feel like the case is true here."

Notes & quotes: Marc Staal (groin) and Wade Redden (back) were back on the ice after missing practice on Tuesday. It hasn't been determined whether they will play in tonight's game against Washington . . . Tortorella has yet to finalize the lineup for tonight's game. He did say, however, that Brandon Dubinsky would play for the first time this preseason.

New York Sports