Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Perron won't be ready for training camp, start of season

Winger missed final 72 games last season after
concussion, not cleared for beginning of 2011-12

ST. LOUIS -- With the start of training camp roughly six weeks away, it was time for the Blues and David Perron to make a decision that will give both sides an indication of whether the winger would be ready to start the upcoming season.

The Blues were hoping for good news, and they did get some to an extent but not the full-proof news they had been hoping for.

After Blues general manager Doug Armstrong spoke with Perron, his agent Allan Walsh and the Blues' medical staff via conference call Monday, the decision has been made: Perron won't be ready to begin the 2011-12 season.

The Blues are hopeful David Perron (57) will play at
some point this season.                              (file photo)
Perron, who suffered a concussion on Nov. 4 against San Jose of last season on a blindside hit from Joe Thornton, still is experiencing symptoms that caused the 23-year-old to miss the final 72 games.

Thornton's hit came as the Sharks center was coming out of the penalty box near center ice. Perron, looking for a pass from teammate Alex Pietrangelo, never saw the hit coming. Thornton was suspended two games under the league's Rule 48 and cost him $77,419.36 in salary. It's cost Perron much, much more.

It is understood that until those symptoms completely subside, there will be no hockey in Perron's immediate future.

"David has shown improvement," Armstrong said Wednesday morning, "but it's not to the point where he's ready to come in and work out and start training yet.

"... We're going to continue down the course we're at right now. But where we're at now, in the summer and with training camp, we've decided to just move forward with the idea that David won't be ready for training camp ... he'll just continue to progress and when he is ready, whatever time he is ready, he'll jump back in and start his training to resume his career. But we're not expecting him at training camp."

Progress has been made with Perron but not to the point where he can begin on- or off-ice training in preparation for a heavy workload.

Training camp is set to open Sept. 16 and the regular season begins Oct. 8.

Armstrong said Perron's progress "took a big jump a few months ago." At that point, Perron attempted some basic and light exercises to see how the body would respond.

"It's been slow and steady now," Armstrong said. "He did some light, light workouts -- never got his heart-rate too high -- (but) some of the symptoms (and) a little fatigue set in.

"As I've said, the signs are all improving. He's seen numerous doctors and we think he's getting excellent advice and excellent care. The injury he has, you just have to wait ... your body and your mind will tell you when you're ready to go."

Even when Perron, who had five goals and two assists when his season ended last year, is ready to begin working out full-time, it will take a lengthy period to get himself in shape and fitness-fit to be game-ready. He'll first have to pass the Blues' battery of tests and likely the VO2 max testing, which the Blues' training staff utilizes on the first day of training camp for the players.

"He hasn't lifted any weights yet or trained since the injury," Armstrong said of Perron. "Not only is he going to have to get his skating legs back, he's going to have to get his body back in NHL shape. With that is going to come his puck skills, his hands and timing. There's going to be a process that he's going to have to go through once he does get medically cleared to do the physical training.

"Everyone is different, but we're not going to put David in a position to fail. We're going to put him in there when he's ready."

The Blues believe Perron will play at some point this season. At what point is the question.

"David ... doesn't want to answer these questions," Armstrong said. "He just wants to focus on getting ready. I think it's just better for David, for the coaches, for everyone to realize that he is progressing but we're not expecting him to be ready at training camp.

"... I think it's important to let David just continue going at his own pace. He just wants to focus on getting ready. He'll let us know when he's ready. Nobody wants David to play like David wants to play."

Perron, the Blues' first round pick (26th overall) in 2007, has 53 goals and 131 points in 235 career games.

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