Nilsson bides his time

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Robert Nilsson was coy about his injury.

The Edmonton Oilers forward was just following orders as part of the NHL's new bush-league policy not specifying player ailments this season, limiting his official status to upper-body injury.

However, it's believed to be a shoulder problem, obtained in a 4-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Nov. 30.

"I fell into the boards, with four or five minutes left in the game," Nilsson said. "It's the first time it's ever happened to me, but it's a pretty common injury.

"It's tough, because I felt like I was just starting to get going when the injury happened. It's a little bit frustrating, but I just need to work hard in order to get back there."

MISSED THREE GAMES

Nilsson, 23, has missed the last three games with the injury. He had scored three goals and added five assists in 23 games.

"I feel all right," Nilsson said. "This was my second time out on the ice (practice). It's just a matter of getting back in shape. I hope to be ready by Thursday but we'll see what happens. It's not really 100%, but it's not going to get any worse and you just have to battle through the pain. It's just up to me to see how far I can take it."

NOT CONVINCED

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish is not convinced the left winger will be ready when they host the Panthers.

"I'd say he'll be doubtful," MacTavish said. "We'll have to see where he's at in the next couple of days of practice."

With three players currently up from the AHL who are playing well, there is no immediate need to rush Nilsson back into the lineup.

Rob Schremp has an opportunity to showcase his talents.

"I'm happy that he's up, he deserves to be here, he was playing well in Springfield," Nilsson said. "It's good to see the guys come up and play well. You can't get too comfortable, that's when things start going bad. It's good to have competition."


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