The Los Angeles Kings will have to start the season without one of their anchors on the blue line. A knee injury will force veteran defenseman Willie Mitchell to watch from off the ice as the team opens its season on Saturday, at home against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kings head coach Darryl Sutter spoke with reporters on Monday, stating that Mitchell had surgery on his knee, and that the veteran defenseman, who was expected to be ready by now, is behind schedule in his recovery, via ProHockeyTalk.com.
"He's way behind," said Sutter. "He should have been a couple of weeks. Now it's almost seven."
Kings GM Dean Lombardi told Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times, that Mitchell had the surgery to remove cartilage from his knee approximately two months ago, and that he had resumed skating but suffered a setback, likely from pushing too hard, too soon after the procedure. Lombardi was unable to put an estimated time on the recovery process.
"It's a little harder to put a timetable in it," Lombardi explained. "He's not skating right now."
Mitchell is not participating in training camp, and has not resumed skating since the setback occurred.
Mitchell had a career-high in points with 24 (5 goals, 19 assists), and posted a plus-20 rating in the 2011-12 regular season. He played a key role for the Kings in last years playoffs, helping lead the team to their first ever Stanley Cup Championship.
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