Both players passed baseline testing; Armstrong indicates progression
By LOUIE KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- They might not be practicing with the Blues today or will be in the lineup Saturday night, but for Andy McDonald and David Perron, it's been a mountainous climb on the road to recovery.
But with Thursday night's news that both McDonald and Perron -- out with concussions -- passed their initial baseline testing, maybe the Blues can finally get a semblance of a full lineup here on the horizon.
Perron was injured on Nov. 4 and has not played since, missing a total of 36 games and McDonald has missed 21 games with his concussion, suffered Dec. 4 at Edmonton.
Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said that McDonald is further along than Perron but both are feeling better and are getting closer.
However, there is no timetable for a return by either.
"We've turned the corner with Andy," Armstrong said. "They both passed initial baseline tests by the NHLPA protocol. Andy has been on the ice the last two days. He's feeling much better. There's been no symptoms. They haven't returned since the skating. He's just going to keep ramping it up as he feels he's able to do. We're just going to go day-by-day. There's no return date set at all with regards to Andy.
"David's situation is a little bit different. He wouldn't be as far along as Andy. Both players have seen secondary doctors and opinions. David still has some symptoms here, but there's been a desire and some indication light exercise can be used to see how that affects David. ... He's not nearly to the point that Andy is."
McDonald, who was leading the Blues with 17 points before leaving the lineup, began skating on his own at St. Louis Mills on Wednesday. The repetitions will be ramped up and the more McDonald can do, the closer he gets to returning.
"There was some progression today," McDonald said. "I was on the ice a little bit longer, a little bit more intensity. That's the way it's going to be for a while, progress each day and add a little bit and see how it responds.
"It's just kind of a gradual thing. Each day you get better. I've been following the protocol of the NHL in terms of returning to skating, riding the bike each day, kind of progressing, increasing your time, the intensity and getting back on the ice."
Perron, who has five goals and seven points in 10 games, is still experiencing some form of symptoms but will try and get on an exercise regimen that doctors feel might help.
"We're trying some light exercises to see if it's going to help with the symptoms," Perron said. "There's some studies on it that it can help. We're going forward with that.
"It's been tough. Now that it's getting absolutely better it feels good, but early on, it was pretty tough to stay away from the rink."
Both players have been confined and secluded from all team-oriented and daily functions. It's part of what was required to alleviate all forms of symptoms.
"Some injuries you're able to do some kind of conditioning," McDonald said. "This type of injury, you're kind of on the shelf and you're really limited to how much exercise and activity you can get.
"It's certainly kind of been frustrating. It's good to be back and getting on the ice and doing some exercising and kind of having a normal life again."
Perron has been out since taking a hard blow from San Jose's Joe Thornton, while McDonald's injury happened in a fluky variety, as he hit a rut of ice and crashed hard into the leg/knee of Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff.
Both are looking forward to getting back to helping the Blues make a playoff push.
"That's probably the toughest thing," Perron said. "You don't get to come to the rink. It might sound weird, but that's probably the toughest thing. It's not the headaches and all that. Not being able to skate every day and being with the team.
"We'll see. So far, it's only going to be the bike. ... If it gets to the point where I can get on the skates, hopefully it comes soon because I can't wait to go back out there and try to stick-handle the puck."
Said McDonald, "Right now, it's just kind of going to be one day at a time. Today I had a good skate and we'll see how I feel tomorrow and see how the skate goes tomorrow."