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DUCK REPORT

McDonald Aims to Return Soon

October 05, 2003|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The Mighty Ducks, who received bad news Friday with the loss of defenseman Keith Carney for at least three weeks because of a broken foot, could get some good news this week, as center Andy McDonald is close to returning.

McDonald, who sat out the last 29 regular-season games and the playoffs last season because of problems lingering from a concussion, could be ready to play in the season opener.

Duck officials will meet with McDonald this week to determine whether he will play against Dallas in Wednesday's opener or start the season on injured reserve.

"I am getting really close physically where I think I can play," McDonald said. "We still have a decision to make, but we have four days until the opener."

Getting McDonald back would be an unexpected perk for the Ducks. He has practiced with the team during training camp, but team officials viewed a December return as the best-case scenario.

But McDonald has made rapid progress, especially in regaining his strength. He said he is at his playing weight of 186 pounds, up 16 pounds since August. He has not experienced any further problems from his concussion.

"It will be up to Andy to decide when he is ready," General Manager Bryan Murray said.

McDonald was one of the Ducks' most energetic players until suffering a concussion against Colorado on Jan. 9. He scored 10 goals in 46 games.

"I am anxious to get back out there, but at the same time, I do not want to be a liability to the team," McDonald said. "There is going to be a break-in period. But my strength is back and I'm up to my playing weight."

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The Ducks, who were playing their second game in as many nights, were outshot, 43-17, in a 4-0 loss to the Kings on Friday.

"Obviously, that is not the way we wanted to go out," team captain Steve Rucchin said. "That was not an indication of who we are, but it is something to learn from. It's an example what can happen if you don't play hard every night. I guess it is better that it happened this week than next week."

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