DETROIT – If Wings forward Danny Cleary had it all over to do again he’d choose surgery over playing.
“Well I’d hate to sprout off, but I have some significant issues going on,” Cleary said of his injured left knee. “They’ll know more when they get in there, you know? There are a lot of different things in there. There are some tears in there, loose cartilage, some bone on bone, a lot of fluid. The build-up of fluid was a major issue, so hoping that we can get it resolved.”
Cleary’s problems stem from Baker’s cysts that burst in his left knee and required fluid to be drained periodically throughout the season.
He was given pain-killing injections before each game in the playoffs, which was something he couldn’t do in the regular season.
“Well you know, just every day, just walking alone I couldn’t walk without a limp since November, so the games were really hard,” Cleary said. “I tried as hard as I could, what are you going to do? It’s hard playing on one leg.
“I wouldn’t do the same thing over again,” Cleary added. “Looking back on the fact, I was hoping that it would calm down, it just didn’t.”
Cleary will have surgery next week and expects to spend between six to eight weeks in rehabilitation. He hopes to be back and full strength for training camp, which is slated to begin in September in Traverse City.
“I just have to go in and have surgery on it and then just get on a maintenance program and it will be fine,” Cleary said.
Cleary’s injury problems began in training camp when he broke his ribs.
“Once they healed I hurt my knee,” Cleary said. “It was an injury-filled season. The broken ribs were another (crappy) thing to have, for me the way I have to play it’s not the ideal thing to have.”
Cleary struggled as the season wore on, scoring just one goal to go with five assists and was a minus-10 over the final 20 games of the regular season. And this after coming off career highs in goals (26) and points (46) last season with the Wings.
He sat out the final two games of the regular season, but played in all five games of the postseason. He even played well enough to be promoted on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen.
Cleary had no points in the playoffs.