By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Jordan DePape is on the road to recovery.
DePape, 20, who left the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers on Nov. 17, had surgery on his right shoulder Monday in his hometown of Winnipeg.
The arthroscopic procedure was performed by Dr. Peter MacDonald, a renowned orthopedic surgeon who works with the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets. A year ago, MacDonald performed similar surgery on DePape’s left shoulder.
“There wasn’t huge damage in the MRI,” DePape said Monday night. “(Dr. MacDonald) knew there was something wrong. He planned to go in with (an arthroscope) and if he found something wrong he would fix it.
“He found that I had an interior and anterior labrum tear. I had to get two anchors on both sides.
“It’s what I did last year, just not as bad of a tear.”
Dr. MacDonald was able to repair the damage arthroscopically, through four small incisions in the shoulder.
DePape injured his right shoulder early this season and missed six games as a result. He returned to action and re-injured the shoulder on Nov. 11 during a 3-1 loss to the Winterhawks in Portland.
On Nov. 17, following a 5-4 shootout victory over the visiting Prince George Cougars, DePape informed his teammates that he was calling it quits in order to return home and get the shoulder repaired.
He admitted yesterday that, while it’s a few months away, he is thinking of playing again this season.
“A possible return to junior . . . never say never,” he said.
According to DePape, he now is faced with “three to four months recovery.”
“It’s still close to the same recovery as last year,” he said, “but it could be three months. Last year was four.”
The Blazers have placed DePape on their long-term injury list, meaning he doesn’t count as one of their three 20-year-olds. Their roster includes 20-year-old forwards Brendan Ranford, Charles Inglis and Dylan Willick, although the latter is out, likely until after Christmas, with a broken ankle suffered on Nov. 2.
If DePape is to play with the Blazers again, he would have to be placed on their roster, as one of the three 20-year-olds, by the Jan. 10 deadline. In order to do that the Blazers would have to release one of the other 20-year-olds.
If DePape isn’t on the Blazers’ roster on Jan. 10, he wouldn’t be permitted to join the team later in the season.
If DePape is able to play again this season, he also could look at joining a junior A team. His MJHL rights belong to the Virden Oil Capitals. The Winnipeg Saints, the team for which DePape played before moving to the WHL, relocated to Virden last summer.
DePape said he already has heard from Mike Sirant, the head coach of the U of Manitoba Bisons.
Sirant suggested that DePape could start classes in January, “do rehab and play this season,” DePape said. “I told him I think that’s going to be a little early for me to start up.”
What makes joining the Bisons an even more-intriguing option is that the team has a European trip planned for August.
This season, DePape had six points in 17 games when he left the Blazers, but he was hardly at 100 per cent for a lot of that. Last season, he had 14 points in 14 regular-season games — including nine points in nine games after returning in March — then added 13 points, including seven goals, in 11 playoff games.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers (20-6-2) are at home Friday to the Tri-City Americans (16-8-2). Game time is 7 p.m. . . . F Aspen Sterzer, who hasn’t played since Nov. 11 because of an undisclosed injury, skated yesterday. He is questionable for Friday’s game. . . . The Red Deer Rebels have added G Spencer Tremblay, 18, to their roster. Tremblay played 20 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors last season, but was released prior to this season. He got into three games with the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats earlier this season. He joins Czech Patrik Bartosak, 19, and Bolton Pouliot, 18, as goaltenders on the Red Deer roster.
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