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Keith Comments on Status
Friday, Sept. 23
Keith told reporters he's not concerned about his knee issue, but stopped short of saying with certainty he'd be ready for the regular season.
Keith Could Miss Start of New Season
Thursday, Sept. 15
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times passed along an update Thursday from Hawks general manager Stan Bowman, who stated the ailment is "nothing to be alarmed about," but he couldn't provide an exact timetable for the star's return to action.
Keith underwent knee surgery early last season after suffering a meniscus tear. He returned to play a majority of the campaign, tallying nine goals and 34 assists in 67 games. His 43 points ranked 22nd in the league among defensemen despite the injury time.
The 33-year-old Canadian pulled out of the upcoming World Cup of Hockey in August in an effort to complete a full recovery without risking a setback. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune passed along a statement from team physician Michael Terry about the decision.
"As Duncan continues offseason rehabilitation on the right knee injury that he sustained last season, we understand his decision not to participate in next month's World Cup of Hockey," Terry said. "We believe it is in his best interests to focus on getting stronger and not risk further injury."
Neither Bowman nor Terry provided further details about the exact nature of the ailment. It's also unclear whether he suffered a setback that has brought his availability for the start of the new season into question.
Scott Powers of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Keith has been among the Blackhawks in attendance for informal skates this week ahead of training camp, which opens next Friday.
The Hawks, which will once again open the season as one of the top contenders in the Western Conference, are likely to take the cautious approach with the blueliner. It's more important to have him close to full strength for the playoffs than playing the first month of the season.
Michal Rozsival figures to secure a regular place in the lineup until Keith is cleared to return.