Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Connor Reilly, one of top incoming U freshmen for 2012, has knee injury

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: March 13, 2012 - 3:34 PM

Connor Reilly, one of the Gophers' top recruits for next season, had surgery on his left knee on March 6 for OCD.

OCD stands for Osteochondritis Dissecans, a knee disorder in which fragments of bone break off from the knee joint surface.

Unlike arthritis of the knee, the degeneration of the knee joint occurs quite quickly with OCD. It affects the articular cartilage (the smooth covering of the ends of bones) and subchondral bone (bone underneath the cartilage), which becomes separated from the rest of the bone.

Reilly said his left knee swelled up after a game with Penticton, a junior team he is playing with in the British Columbia Hockey League. "It came out of the blue," he said, "but it has kind of been building up for years." He later learned the problem had been developing since he was somewhere between 11 and 13.

He traveled from Penticton in B.C. to Vail, Colo., to have the surgery. Dr. Rob LaPrade, the former team physician for the Gophers, was his surgeon.

Reilly said two screws were used to repair the knee. He plans to stay in Vail for another week for post-surgery rehabilitation. He will have to be on crutches the first six weeks after surgery and then will wear a knee brace for a while.

"I can still work out with my upper body," Reilly said. He expects to be physically ready when the Gophers start their official practices for the 2012-13 season in early October: "I'll build [the left leg] up," he said.

Until being sidelined, Connor, his two brothers, Ryan and Mike, and five other Minnesotans were key members of a Penticton team that was setting records of all kinds in the BCHL.

The Vees finished with a 54-6-0 record in the regular season, which including a 42-game winning streak which was snapped the last game. They start playoffs Friday.

Connor, a 6-foot, 170-pound forward had 35 goals and 51 assists for 86 points in 54 games. He finished fifth in Vees scoring.

Ryan, Connor's twin brother and also a forward, has 32 goals and 41 assists for 73 points. Mike, two years younger and a defenseman, has 24 goals and 59 assists for 83 points.

All three will be Gophers next season.

WINNING MENTALITY

Connor Reilly watched the Vees lost 5-2 to Prince George last Saturday [the game was available on computer]. "I was shocked," he said, "but Mikey did not play."

Mike Reilly was given the day off.

"It was an unbelievable season," Connor Reilly said. "We has such a talented team. But we were not just talented, we were hard-working. Whether we won 2-1 or 10-1, we would show up to work. We were never complacent even when we got to 10, 20, 30 wins,"

On Monday, Mike Reilly was named the Best Defenseman in the BCHL's Interior Conference. His 83 points are one more than the previous modern-day franchise record which had been held by Joey Laleggia of Denver and Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Laleggia was  named the WCHA's rookie of the year last week.

Mario Lucia, the son of Gophers coach Don Lucia and another Vees player, was named the rookie of the year in the Interior Conference. He tied for first in goals in the league with 42 and had the most points, 93, of any rookie. Lucia will play for Notre Dame next season.

 

 

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