SUN Hockey Pool

Back on blades

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- Daniel Tjarnqvist is not familiar with injuries.

Prior to his ongoing battle with groin problems this season, the Edmonton Oilers defenceman had never been injured.

"That's why it's tough," said Tjarnqvist.

"I've never been hurt, I've never been in this situation before."

Tjarnqvist joined the Oilers on their current seven-game road trip in Ottawa Tuesday.

A GOOD SIGN

He practised with the team yesterday in Columbus as they prepared for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets.

Tjarnqvist has been out of the lineup since the second week of January and won't play tonight.

But having him back practising with the team is a good sign his return is imminent.

"We're looking forward to getting him back in, but we won't rush him back," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"We'll see how he progresses. He's completely unlikely for (tonight).

"We're kind of on a day-to-day basis with him to see how the injuries respond to the increasing level of physical stress from skating, battling and so forth."

"It's getting better," Tjarnqvist said.

"It's still there and I still feel it.

"But it's a big difference from the game in L.A. where I had to say that's it.

"There's a big difference, but I don't want it to get back to that point.

"That's why I want to get more practices in and see how it feels. When I feel I'm ready and Mac says I'm ready we'll go."

WORKING OUT

Prior to joining the team in Ottawa, Tjarnqvist had been working out on his own in Edmonton.

"It's better for me to be skating here instead of at home by myself," Tjarnqvist said.

"It's fun to be out there. You want to be back as quick as possible, but you have to take care of yourself too.

"If it doesn't feel right you shouldn't play because it's just going to go the other way."

The Oilers will be cautious when it comes to Tjarnqvist's return.

He's already tried to come back earlier this year and aggravated the injury even further.

"The groin and the pubic bone are all the same, it's all connected," Tjarnqvist said.

Apart from skating, Tjarnqvist has also been riding the bike for a half hour each day and sprinting.

But having missed the last 18 games, it might take some time to get back in game shape.

"There is not much to do, just ice it and take it easy," Tjarnqvist said.


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