SUN Hockey Pool

Testing ... with a twist

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

Ethan Moreau replaced his walking splint with a pair of skates.

Yesterday the Edmonton Oilers forward took his first stride on the road to recovery.

Moreau was on the ice prior to the Oilers' practice at Rexall Place testing his right ankle.

The Oilers winger sprained the ankle during a pickup basketball game on Jan. 30. He's missed six games and is expected to be out at least another week.

"I didn't know what to expect, I just wanted to get on the ice and see where we're at," Moreau said. "But it felt very good.

"It's going to be sore for a while and it's going to be limited to the things I can do. But it's definitely a positive today."

Moreau spent 20 minutes on the ice testing the ankle. It's the first time he's been able to put on a pair of skates since the injury.

"I didn't know if I was going to take one lap and get off or be able to stay out there," he said.

PLEASANTLY SURPRISED

"I was pleasantly surprised -- it felt good. I think (today) if it doesn't swell up and if it reacts, well, hopefully I'll practise (today)."

Moreau had nine goals and 15 assists in 52 games before the injury. He had not missed a game prior to the mishap since Dec. 23, 2003.

Had it not been for the Olympic break, he would have missed more than just six games.

"It's very encouraging news, because he's come through it pretty well so far," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish, of Moreau's spin around the ice.

"I was really skeptical how he was going to do. But that's really encouraging news for us and we can start to more definitely determine when we're going to get him back."

With initial X-rays determining there was no fracture, Moreau simply had to wait until the swelling subsided before he could begin the rehab process.

The time off helped in that regard. Now it's just a matter of testing out the ankle and seeing what it's capable of doing.

"It's a situation where from my perspective I take the medical staff's assessment of him and his own personal assessment," Moreau said.

A LOT OF IFS

"If the medical staff says there is no way he can further injure it and he's at no greater risk, and Ethan says he can do everything, he feels good and he wants to play, then we'll put him in. Anything short of that we're going to be cautious."

Moreau had to have his skates altered in order to better stabilize his foot.

"Whenever it's ready, it's ready," Moreau said. "If I can play, I'll play. It's not 100% and it probably won't be 100% for the whole year.

"But hopefully when I do play, I'll be able to do everything on the ice I need to do to be successful."

ICE CHIPS: Matt Greene did not take part in practice yesterday.

The Oilers defenceman was clipped by a vehicle leaving a club near Gateway Boulevard on Saturday night.

He was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital and released, having suffered a few scrapes and bruises.

According to J.J. Hebert, the Oilers media relations manager, Greene was on the sidewalk when he was hit and police are currently investigating the matter.

Greene was not available to the media yesterday, but is expected to practise today and play against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.


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