The next hurdle has been cleared by Matt Stajan.
The Calgary Flames centre took part in his first practice with teammates since suffering a separated shoulder Sept. 21.
“I feel good. I feel really good. I’m just trying to get my skating legs back. I’ve been skating for a week now, and it’s getting better every day,” Stajan said after Sunday’s morning skate.
“It’s nice to get out there with the team — feel the puck, get crisp passes back, just start to get the feeling back … So we’ll keep going with that and keep getting stronger. Then, hopefully, I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Stajan has been skating for more than a week in his quest to return from the injury which happened in the team’s first pre-season game.
However, he had been alongside other injured players.
Just when he’ll return to game action is still up in the air, since he first has to receive medical clearance to take contact and then will need a practice or two, but it’s an encouraging sign for the injury-riddled squad.
So was the sight of another couple of forwards — David Moss (shoulder) was joined on the ice by Daymond Langkow (neck) prior to the morning session.
Langkow, who suffered a fractured vertebra last March, was skating prior to training camp and in the opening days of camp, but doctors forced him to stop because of a tingling sensation he was feeling while on the ice.
Sunday was his second session since being allowed to re-start the long comeback.
“Just a minor setback,” Langkow said. “We’re back on track, and things are going well.”
Ales Kotalik (knee), Raitis Ivanans (head) and Ryan Stone (knee) are also part of the Flames’ injured brigade.
Stajan, who is pegged to be the No.-2 centre and coming off a 19-goal, 57-point season, should be the first back in action.
“I’m still day to day, and I’ve got to get (medically) cleared,” Stajan said. “Make sure the shoulder’s ready, take some punishments and some hits. We’ll take it day by day, but hopefully, I’ll be back sooner than later.”
The Flames are back in action Thursday at home against the Florida Panthers. Stajan would need to go through a battery of tests, so a return that early would appear quick. But you never know.
“I haven’t taken any contact yet, so depending how it responds when that happens, I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Stajan said.
Then again, he’ll first have to get through Monday and see if he feels any pain from the increased workload which comes from a full practice.
“I’ve had no setbacks, and that’s good, but there’s going to be soreness, probably for the next few months, there’s no doubt,” Stajan added. “Anybody who’s had this injury says you just kind of go with it. It’s just making sure there’s no blow-ups and it responds accordingly.
“Hopefully, it’ll be stronger and stronger, and I’ll be able to play with very little pain.”