Bouillon eager for his return

Monday, 07.08.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal Canadiens
Canadiens blue-liner undergoes successful surgery on nagging left knee

Francis Bouillon had a solid offensive season in 2005-06, setting career highs in all categories.

MONTREAL - Francis Bouillon was back in the Canadiens dressing room Monday afternoon after undergoing successful surgery on his left knee last Wednesday in Colorado.

Standing with the aid of crutches, Bouillon provided a much anticipated update on his condition since going under the knife last week.

"After consulting with Dr. Mulder and Bob Gainey we agreed that surgery was the way to go," admitted Bouilllon, with his knee wrapped snugly. "We did all we could to avoid surgery with some intense physio, but when that wasn't working we made the decision to go through with the procedure."

The injury was a nagging one which Bouillon has been playing through for some time. Despite his wonky wheel, the 5-foot-8 defenseman still managed to throw his weight around in 2005-06, as he led the Canadiens blue line with over 150 hits.

"It's basically scar tissue in my knee that has built up over time," added Bouillon. "Whenever I tried to skate or bend my knee, I would feel it right away. Once it was determined that the scar tissue was what was causing the problem, I headed to Colorado to get it taken care of."

Bouillon's knee ended up in the capable hands of Dr. Richard Steadman, the same surgeon who recently operated on team owner George Gillett's pair of ailing knees. 

"According to the doctors, I'm hearing it could be 12 weeks, but hopefully I can be back even a little sooner than that," said Bouillon, who was paid a surprise visit from Gillett himself following the surgery. "It's tough to say right now, but we'll know more after the proper treatment and physiotherapy.

"A decision like this is always tough to make," added the 30-year-old. "No one wants to miss out on the start of the season, but if it means that my knee will be completely healed, then it will be worth it. Playing without any pain will be a welcome change for me, it's been a long time since that last happened."

Armed with the first long term contract of his career after inking a new three-year pact with the Canadiens in early July, Bouillon is itching to get back on the ice as soon as possible. That being said, he knows better than to rush himself back into action.

"I'm feeling good. I may be facing a fair amount of rehabilitation, but getting this done is a good thing," said Bouillon, who despite being prescribed pain killers by Dr. Steadman has yet to feel the need to break the seal on the bottle of pills. "I've been playing through this already for a couple of years and finally taking care of it so that I can come back 100 per cent is my top priority right now."

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.