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Michigan State's John Draeger Returns to Ice After Injury

Jamie Sabau

At Big Ten Media Day this year, Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos announced that for the second straight season, top defenseman John Draeger would begin the year recovering from a lower body injury. This year, Draeger is recovering from offseason hip surgery.

But the good news is that while last year's recovery from sports hernia surgery kept him out until late-November(and hampered him all season), Draeger should be back patrolling the Spartan blue line much quicker this year. Neil Koepke reports that Draeger has already been cleared to return to the ice. He's listed as questionable for Michigan State's season-opener against UMass Amherst on October 17th, as he works to get into game condition.

At Big Ten Media Day, Michigan State goalie Jake Hildebrand talked to SBN College Hockey's Nate Wells about Draeger's injury, and what he means to the Spartan team:

" He’s right on track and making good strides. I’m not sure where he’s at time-wise, but he looks good right now and is excited to get back out after the year he had last year with surgery. The season was tough for him so I think he’s ready to go.

He’s a great defenseman. He’s a solid stay at home defenseman who can block shots and I love for him to play in front of me."

Even if Draeger is unable to go against UMass, it would be a huge boon to Michigan State to get their top defenseman back for what is a brutal stretch of non-conference play for the Spartans to begin the season that features games against a revamped Boston University, UMass Lowell, Ferris State, New Hampshire, and Boston College.