Questions remain for Oilers injured

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI , SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:20 PM ET

The Nikolai Khabibulin watch continues, mostly because the injured Oilers goalie is nowhere to be seen.

He isn’t even practising yet, and hasn’t been on the ice since the pre-game skate against Chicago 10 days ago, hours before coming down with a sore back that doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

He missed 12 games with the same ailment last March, so five on the shelf might just be the start.

“He’s not cleared for anything yet, he’s still suffering,” said head coach Pat Quinn. “He’s a top player, when you lose your top players it’s not expected and you miss them. But you have to somehow suck it up and keep going. We miss him and hope that he’s back soon.”

Ryan Stone, however, is ready to come back. He’s been given medical clearance and it’s just a question now of pain management.

“We expect after three days of practice that we might see him in Detroit,” said Quinn. “Same with Bobby (Nilsson).”

The Oilers were 5-2-1 when Stone went down, they’ve gone 5-11-3 since.

“I’ve been banging my head off the wall,” he said. “It’s been a long six weeks. Whenever it feels good and the coaches say let’s go, I’ll be good to go. I could play (right now). I wouldn’t be 100 per cent, but I don’t know if it’ll be 100 per cent all year, that’s what the surgeon said.

"I have to fight through the pain and go out and play.”

Shawn Horcoff didn’t practice Monday (shoulder) but Quinn expects him to be ready by Detroit.


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