The Michigan hockey team was greeted with an unfamiliar site at practice yesterday, as junior Mike Cammalleri dressed for his first full skate since he was diagnosed with mono on Jan. 17. It was a welcome site for Cammalleri”s teammates and friends, who were glad to see him healthy enough to practice.
“We”re excited to have him back,” team captain Jed Ortmeyer said. “This is the sport he loves, and he just wants to go out there and play the sport he loves. It is good for him to be back on the ice and feel like he is part of the team.”
Cammalleri, a fierce competitor, chose not to go easy on himself in his first full skate staying until the end and competing in every drill. The only sign that he was fatigued during practice was that he left the ice at 4:30, as opposed to staying until five and playing games with his teammates.
While the junior skated as an extra forward in practice on Friday and Saturday, yesterday was the first time he skated with linemates. He worked on line No. 3 with freshman Michael Woodford and junior Mark Mink.
Woodford said that Cammalleri hadn”t appeared to miss a beat, and that as practice went on, the line was able to move the puck around better.
“It feels great to be back. This is what I love to do and it feels unbelievable to be back on the ice,” Cammalleri said. “I still feel tired. I think it will be a couple of weeks before I am back at 100 percent.”
Cammalleri added that his endurance is not near where he wants it to be, but that today was a big step in the right direction.
Tomorrow will be a better estimate of Cammalleri”s health, when the team has a full-contact practice.
Cammalleri has been cleared by doctors to resume play full time and begin working out, but the decision as to whether or not he will play this weekend will be left entirely up to him.
Berenson said the chances of Cammalleri returning were 50-50, but the coaching staff will have a better idea after tomorrow.
“We have been playing well without him, and we need to continue to play that way,” Ortmeyer said. “We can”t relax just because he is back, we need to go out and continue playing the way we have been.”