At this stage of the season almost any injury is a season-ending injury, but Andrew Ference isn’t giving up hope that he’ll be back before the Edmonton Oilers are packing up their bags for the summer.

The 35-year-old captain, who hasn’t played since his overtime winner against the Anaheim Ducks last week, is trying to wait out a partially torn pectoral muscle, but time is running out.

“This road trip is just let it get some rest and hopefully feel better by the end of the week,” said Ference, who accompanied the team on its three-game California-Arizona road trip. “Then we’ll re-assess it.”

He says it’s not an issue of unbearable pain, but rather the risk of a full tear, which takes forever to recover from and would sabatoge his off-season training.

“It’s uncomfortable, but the cut off point is having more danger to do something worse. If I can get out of the woods where it’s not as risk to do something, I’ll play for sure. That’s kind of the doctor’s call.”

He’s been playing hurt for several games after being running into the boards awkwardly March 18 against Nashville.

“It just kind of kept getting worse every time something happened in the games or practices that followed. Dallas (Eakins) finally said let’s get a picture and see what’s going on here, make sure that it’s not something that could turn into something really bad.”

It was.