Willie Mitchell recently underwent knee surgery but is farther behind in his rehabilitation and recovery than the Kings expected, coach Darryl Sutter revealed in an oh-by-the-way moment Monday.

Mitchell, a veteran defenseman, declined to comment.

"With Mitchell, he had knee surgery and he's way behind what he should have been," Sutter said after the first of two workouts. "He should have been (sidelined for) a couple of weeks and now he's already almost seven.

"And so that's thrown out of whack."

The Kings don't expect Mitchell to play in the lockout-delayed season opener Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Sutter didn't elaborate on Mitchell's surgery or say on which knee the procedure was performed. The Kings said last week only that Mitchell tweaked his knee.

Mitchell was a vital cog in the Kings' unexpected run last spring to their first Stanley Cup championship. Through a team spokesman, Mitchell said he would talk to reporters only after he returns to the ice. There is no timetable for his return, however.

Sutter revealed Mitchell's recent surgery during an off-handed comment while addressing a question about goaltender Jonathan Quick's offseason back surgery. Sutter suddenly began to explain how Mitchell's recovery from surgery was behind schedule.