SUN Hockey Pool

Tantalizingly close

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

When is Sheldon coming back? Souray isn't sure, eh, but the Oilers defenceman expects to be back very soon.

He had a full practice with the club yesterday, unleashing a slapshot that had goalies flinching, and predicts he'll be back any day now.

"It's healing good, actually better than I thought it was going to be," he said. "I'm close."

They said Souray would be out four to six weeks when he separated his shoulder in a fight with Vancouver's Byron Ritchie. Tonight would be four weeks to the day. Waiting till next Wednesday's game in Vancouver will give him another four days of rest.

"I'm guessing Vancouver, unlikely for (tonight), but we'll see," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "You have to be relatively patient in these situations. The inclination to rush him back before he's ready, based on the need we have right now, is seldom the right thing to do. We'll try and be patient with him. See how he comes through practice today and next week and possibly get him in the lineup against Vancouver."

Souray's been around long enough to know when he's ready, so the final decision will be up to him.

"I've had injuries before and it's more a matter of making sure I'm feeling like I'm going to be able to help out, not being tentative out there. Being able to play my game. I think it's more knowing that I'm ready and having the confidence and they'll make a decision whether to put me in or not."

He looked fine in practice, and is itching to get back.

"I'm slowly working my way into feeling comfortable," he said. "We'll keep working and getting ready, whether it's Wednesday or Thursday or next Saturday. We're not putting a date on it. It's just making sure I'm ready to go and contribute. I've come back from injuries before and (coming back too early) doesn't help the team or help the guy who's not fully ready to come back. Knowing that, you're not doing anybody any favours by coming back.

"With that said, you like to get in as soon as you can."

When he does come back, Souray says he'll fight again whenever it's necessary.

"It's a part of my game and always will be," he said. "You don't ever want to get injured senselessly, but on the other hand you have to be able to play your game, you have to be able to do the things that make you a good player.

"They (the coaches) haven't said anything (about not scrapping) and I don't expect them to. I'll keep playing the same game I've always played."


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