There was some measure of relief for both Ryan Getzlaf and Team Canada on Tuesday night after results from an MRI on Getzlaf's injured left ankle painted a more positive outlook than what some had originally feared. And Getzlaf left no room for interpretation in a statement he released through the Anaheim Ducks when he said the ankle felt much better and he looked "forward to joining Team Canada for the Olympics on Monday."
If only it were that simple. It's not that cut-and-dried.
Getzlaf, injured Monday night in a game against Los Angeles, is not out of the woods yet. It's going to be one of those delicate decisions by Team Canada's management staff on Getzlaf's Olympic future.
"Nothing is ever easy. We're going to wait and see how he's doing in a few days," Team Canada's executive director Steve Yzerman told ESPN.com on Tuesday night. "It's not as bad as many feared after what we watched on TV last night, so that's good. We're just going to take it a day at a time here, we'll see how it responds over the next few days. We'll stay in contact with the Ducks and make a decision when we have to."
Yzerman spoke with Getzlaf earlier Tuesday before the MRI and was planning to reach out to him again later Tuesday night.
Getzlaf is officially listed as day to day. Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray told ESPN.com on Tuesday night he was hopeful Getzlaf "would play before the Olympics." That's a must for Getzlaf to get the green light from Yzerman et al. The Ducks' final two games before the break are Saturday at Calgary and Sunday at Edmonton.
Olympic teams have until 10 p.m. Monday night, the eve of the Olympic hockey tournament, to submit their final roster with any injury replacements.
"We'll wait and see, we'll see how he's doing," said Yzerman. "This is one of those tricky injuries. He's much better tonight than he was last night, so we'll see how he feels in a few days and make a decision at some point."
Team Canada hasn't had to replace any of the 23 names it first submitted Dec. 30. Getzlaf represents the biggest scare.
And here's where it gets interesting. after a disappointing seventh-place showing in 2006, one major retrospective concern of Team Canada's Torino brain trust and coaching staff was they believed too many players were allowed to play with injuries. The goal this time around was to not take any chances with any kind of injury. You're either 100 percent or you're not.
Well, that's easier said than done, of course. And the Getzlaf situation will test that theory.