Connor Reilly’s return to the ice is becoming more unlikely with each week that passes. The Gophers sophomore forward hoped to start skating again over the past week, but was unable to show enough progress after suffering a lower-body injury to his right knee a month ago.
He was originally listed as out indefinitely, eyeing a possible return after several weeks of rest. With only four games left in the regular season, his season could be over.
“It doesn’t look like Connor will be back any time soon,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said on Wednesday. “If he doesn’t skate for another week or two, you’re getting to that point where it’d be hard to get thrown in if he can’t come back until playoff time. It’s hard to be thrown into that type of situation. We were hoping that maybe he could be back within these couple weeks' time frame, especially the last weekend. But if we can’t get him back before the end of the regular season, I think it would be very difficult for him to jump back in and play at that point.”
Reilly hasn’t skated or practiced with the team since being injured on Jan. 31 at Wisconsin when he was kneed by Badgers’ Corbin McGuire early in the second period. The contact was made to Reilly’s right knee, which was still relatively fresh off a surgery that repaired two torn ligaments in the fall of 2012. Reilly has had surgery on both of his knees within the past three-plus years.
McGuire received a five-minute kneeing penalty during the game and the Big Ten suspended him one game after reviewing the play as part of its supplemental discipline process.
Reilly was the Gophers’ top goal-scorer before suffering the injury and is still among the team’s top nine scorers (11 goals, five assists) despite missing the last eight games. Lucia said a month ago that Reilly could possibly require another surgery if he's unable to heal from rest and rehab alone.