Hemsky still foggy

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Five games after being crushed by Jordin Tootoo, Ales is still in wonderland.

Hemsky remains groggy and tired and still isn't up on skates yet after being knocked from the lineup Dec. 28 against Nashville.

His recovery is taking longer than the Oilers had originally hoped -- it always does when a team's best player gets hurt -- but with concussions there is never a set timeframe.

SYMPTOMS

It all comes down to when the symptoms disappear, and Hemsky's obviously haven't.

"It's longer and we're a little stretched offensively with our forwards with him out of the lineup, but we've been able to somewhat survive it to this point," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"And with every win, we buy a little more time. We all know how valuable he is to our team; his absence is a huge loss for us.

"We just have to try and piece together some wins and buy some time so he doesn't feel any pressure to get back."

An extended losing streak might tempt a player with Hemsky's competitive fire to shrug off a warning sign or two and come back before his body is ready.

"That's what we really have to be careful of, the player feeling like he has a sense of urgency to get back," said MacTavish.

"Then he puts himself in a vulnerable position. That's the last thing we want to do, we want to be really patient with him. It's a lot easier for the team to do that if we're winning."

JACQUES PRACTISES

Meanwhile, winger J.F. Jacques practised with the team for the first time in ages yesterday. It's the next step in his recovery from back surgery.

"He had been skating on his own, this was his first skate with the team," said MacTavish. "It's still a long way for him before he's ready to play, but he's back practising which I'm sure is a breath of fresh air for him."


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