Cody Drees Surgery with Dr Ronald Kvitne

It was 10 minutes into the second game of the 2013-2014 season and everything seemed normal. The Oregon club hockey team was playing Portland State, a team very familiar to them, and Cody Drees was about to deliver one of many checks issued that night.

But that check was when “normal” ended.

As the PSU Viking was rammed into the boards of his own zone, Drees’ skate got caught in the ice, twisting his leg. Injured, he skated back to the bench and saw a doctor between periods who advised him not to play due to a likely ACL tear.

However, Drees returned to the ice anyway to play another shift.

“They told me my knee was screwed, but I was like, ‘No, I’m fine,’” Drees said. “They definitely told me not to go out there, but I just went for it. And it didn’t work out, so they were right.”

Unknown to Drees at the time, he hadn’t only damaged his ACL. It had a partial tear, but he also sprained his MCL, damaged his meniscus and completely tore his patellofemoral tendon after dislocating his kneecap during the hit. With his knee completely blown out, skating was nearly impossible to do.

“He’s a tough little shit,” teammate Michael Luke said. “He went back out (to continue playing)…But he goes out there and he can’t turn because hockey is all lateral movement and there was no stability (in his knee).”

After taking off his knee pad and seeing his swollen joint, Drees knew his injury was serious. He called his father, saw a few more doctors and quickly returned to his home in Los Angeles, California for surgery. He left only a few weeks into fall term of his freshman year.

“We got him down here (Los Angeles) the second week of October,” said Jeff Drees, Cody’s dad. “He was pretty depressed. He was acclimating well, doing well, then boom. He’s out of there.”

The surgery was done at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic by Dr. Ron Kvitne, the surgeon for the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Needless to say, it was a more than a success. Cody was medically cleared to play hockey – checking included – right before tryouts this year and has played nearly every game this season thus far. He even believes that his knee is in better condition than before.

“I honestly feel like it’s stronger,” Cody said. “It gets a little sore at the end of the week, like after practices or game weekends, but honestly I feel a little faster and a little stronger. It feels more stable.”

His time away didn’t weaken the bond with his teammates either. With the guys staying in contact with him during the initial recovery process and while he did physical therapy at the UO Health Center, Cody came back to a team full of his best friends. And when he laced up for the first time during tryouts, he felt right at home.

“They were are all talking to me, making jokes about me being the gimpy boy,” Cody said. “But I was talking back saying I was going to run all of them into glass.”

“It was nice.”

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