Well, dear readers have flooded my email with requests for an update on injured C JORDAN STAAL, who has experienced setbacks after surgery during the playoffs to repair a severed tendon in his right foot. I’ve been in touch with several people I trust, and this is what I can report as of early Tuesday afternoon:
= Staal has been re-evaluated by Penguins physician DR. CHARLES BURKE in Pittsburgh, and team officials have been notified of Burke’s assessment. I’m told by somebody with the team that Burke’s report was seen as “pretty good news.”
= A person close to Staal tells me there is no additional damage to the tendon that Staal had surgically repaired on May 1 after he was injured by an errant stomp from Montreal D PK SUBBAN. Additional damage to the tendon was a “worst-case scenario.”
= Another person close to Staal told me that his “setback” — a term used last week by GM RAY SHERO — is not in any way considered season- or career-threatening. He is expected to make a full recovery.
= Staal’s status for training camp, which opens Sept. 17, remains unclear. However, the Penguins are adamant that he will be not rushed onto the ice for the regular season’s start, let alone camp.
= The biggest problem Staal faces is getting in so-called hockey shape. He has not been afforded opportunities to train on the ice, and most players have been skating for weeks. He must test the right foot on the ice sufficiently before he can begin on-ice training. The process of on-ice testing for the foot has not yet begun.
= The Penguins are expected to address Staal’s status today or Wednesday.