Red Wings’ Fabbri beginning the long process of returning after 3rd knee surgery

Detroit News

Detroit — Robby Fabbri is still a good two months away from probably even thinking about playing a game.

But just being out there for Thursday’s morning skate, while recuperating from his third ACL surgery in six years, Fabbri was able to further see how his knee was coming along and begin to get reacclimated to a hockey season again.

“Everything has gone as planned; we’re right where we’re at with this injury,” Fabbri said. “It’s a timing thing, and just gradually getting more and more on the ice and getting back into the swing of things and a daily NHL schedule. Things are going well.

“Still a couple months (away), but we’re still on track for the New Year.”

Few players, in any sport, have gone through the trials and tribulations of knee surgeries like Fabbri has. Both knees have been worked on, and Fabbri has undergone the long, tedious, almost year-long rehabilitations. Fabbri knew what he was in for, right after the injury occurred late last season.

“I knew right away when it happened,” Fabbri said. “It took me a good five, 10 minutes to calm down in the doctors’ room, knowing what happened. Doc just sat there and waited for me to calm down because I knew what I had to do. It was an emotional time for me and my family, to have to go through that again. It’s long; it’s not like you can come back quicker. It’s one of those injuries where you have to let the graft heal and I knew I had a long road ahead of me.

“I let it all out that night and I came back to work the next day and got ready for surgery and put it behind me. You can’t change things.”

Fabbri will continue to strengthen the knee until he gets to the point where he’ll be able to practice in a non-contact jersey, then be allowed to practice with contact. But that’s still a ways off.

And, as mentioned, Fabbri understands how this all goes.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been through it before,” Fabbri said. “Mentally, I’ve drained myself and you learn from that, and on the second (knee surgery) and then you learn more on the third one. It’s nothing to be proud of, or any fan of, but I’m just staying positive and putting all my energy into the rehab and the work to get better.

“Being around the group as much as I can definitely helps and makes time go by quicker.”

Pysyk skating

Defenseman Mark Pysyk (torn Achilles tendon) also participated in Thursday’s morning skate.

Defenseman Mark Pysyk (torn achilles tendon) also participated in the morning skate.

Coach Derek Lalonde puts Pysyk’s return in the same general timeline as Fabbri, possibly around January 1.

Pysyk, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent in July then suffered the injury two weeks later, will add more veteran depth to the blue line.

“Pysyk is more about just being a simple defender,” Lalonde said. “I don’t want to put undue pressure on him because Olli (Maatta) is playing so well right now, but a similar, right-shot, minute-eating, safe defender. It’s kind of where we want our entire game to be. That was our vision of signing him.”

Lalonde was pleased to see Pysyk and Fabbri on the ice.

“It’s pretty cool, those are veteran-type guys, big personalities,” Lalonde said. “(Pysyk, Fabbri) are still on target but a long ways away. It was just good to have them in the morning skate and get them in the mix a little bit.”

Twitter: @tkulfan

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