Willie Mitchell talks about his knee, rehab and being back with the Kings

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell sat out all of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season after undergoing knee surgery and suffering a series of setbacks. He says he’s sound now and ready to resume his career. He acknowledged that a lengthy layoff has him feeling grateful for another chance to play hockey. His last game was his and the Kings’ greatest triumph, their victory over the New Jersey Devils in the decisive Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in June 2012. Returning to the ice for an exhibition game this week could feel almost as good. Here’s more from Mitchell, who spoke with several reporters Saturday:

“It’s a good spot to be in considering where I was. That’s all I can do, try to work on my game and try to be the best teammate I can be. We have a good team this year, a really good team. That part is exciting. I’m just worrying about my little situation here, like I have all summer, and I’m just trying to get better with it. I could be a good (defense) partner for Slava (Voynov).”

[Mitchell didn’t go through all of the pre-training camp physical testing and he explained why]. “Why take the risk? There’s no point. … It’s just not worth the risk. … Lots of ways to go up a hill, right? You can walk it, you can fly up to the top, take a helicopter, you can sprint it, right? There’s lots of different ways. You can crawl, too. I’ve been working really close (with a physio-therapist). They don’t want to ruin all the hard work they’ve done and I don’t want to ruin all the hard work I’ve done all summer. I’ve dedicated myself to making sure my knee was in the right place, getting the right rest, getting the right progression. I’m not going to sit there and go a test just to appease someone that I worked hard in the summer. I know I worked hard in the summer and took the necessary steps. They (the Kings) had no problems with that. They’ve been around. All summer.”

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