By RYAN MCCRACKEN on June 29, 2019.
James Hamblin will require minor surgery after dislocating his kneecap in an on-ice session at Toronto Maple Leafs development camp Wednesday, but the Medicine Hat Tigers captain is confident he won’t be out for too long.
While he isn’t going to be back on the ice at development camp, Hamblin is up and walking around after getting stretchered off the ice Wednesday, and says “the pain was horrible,” but it really only lasted for a few moments.
“Once they stretchered me off, just as we got to the room we kind of hit a bump and it popped back in, and it was basically instant relief,” said Hamblin, who had 33 goals and 44 assists with the Tigers this season. “It went from an unbearable pain to nothing in an instant.”
Hamblin added he underwent an MRI, which showed a piece of cartilage that will need to be removed in a minor surgery, though there is no current timetable for his return.
“We’ll have to see when the surgery is over and completed, then the timeline is up to the doctor, ” he said. “But I’m going to try to get going as fast as I can, and I mean, the training won’t stop, I just won’t exactly be working that one knee.”
While early reports suggested Hamblin caught a rut in the ice, the 20-year-old Edmonton product says he simply twisted his leg the wrong way while taking a shot.
“I basically just turned, went to take a shot where I dropped my knee a little bit and in doing so I twisted just the perfect way and my kneecap popped,” he said. “I take that shot and my knee just kind of collapses.”
The situation put a dampener on Hamblin’s week, but the 5-foot-9, 176-pound centre says he’s still making the most of his big-league experience.
“I’m not allowed to skate or play or anything but I’m still participating in everything at the camp,” he said. “Just even being here to start is kind of a dream come true so I’ve been trying to soak up everything I can. With not being on the ice, as devastating as it is, I’m still trying to keep a good demeanour.”
Hamblin added Toronto’s training staff helped keep him calm throughout the ordeal and assured him the injury wasn’t as bad as the pain might lead him to believe.
“The training staff did an unbelievable job. They were really good with calming me down and then kind of reassuring me that it was nothing too bad, that it was fixable,” he said. “Once that pain went away, again they were amazing. They kind of helped me through it and I was walking within minutes after that.”