Nathan MacKinnon sidelined by knee injury
Nathan MacKinnon, s star forward for the Halifax Mooseheads, is sidelined after he injured his knee.
Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 7:01PM AST
Nathan MacKinnon, a star forward for the Halifax Mooseheads, has been at the top of scouting lists for several years. But now the 17-year-old is facing adversity for the first time in his career after suffering a knee injury.
The Mooseheads were vague at first, calling it a lower body injury. But now MacKinnon admits he injured his medial collateral ligament, or MCL, which is one of the four major ligaments of the knee.
The injury has sidelined him for two weeks.
"Hopefully I have a long career ahead of me and I don't think a minor MCL injury will hurt it at all," says MacKinnon.
When torn, the MCL can end a player’s season, but MacKinnon says his injury is minor.
"I think, right now, it's not worth making it worse and putting a long playoff run in jeopardy," he says.
However, he knows his injury is still big news in junior hockey circles.
"I kind of laugh about it now,” says MacKinnon. “I'm out for six to seven days and it's all over twitter."
This injury gives MacKinnon a chance to rest during a long hockey season, but it’s also bad timing, especially considering the fast-approaching National Hockey League entry draft.
When the NHL teams select the top junior players in June, MacKinnon has a chance to go number one overall.
"This type of injury is not going to hurt my draft at all," says MacKinnon.
His head coach, Dominique Ducharme, agrees.
"The scouts have seen Nathan play since last year,” says Ducharme. “They saw him play 30 to 40 times. They know what kind of player he is. They want to see how you handle adversity."
Officials in the hockey community say there is no room for error in how the Mooseheads handle the injury.
"If Nathan needs two weeks, I'd give him three,” says former NHL first-round draft pick Trevor Stienburg.
“If he needs three weeks, I'd give him four. I would make sure he is put in a position where he is 100 per cent healthy to come back.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth
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