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 isnt even practising yet, and hasnt been on the ice since the pre-game skate against Chicago 10 days ago, hours before coming down with a sore back that doesnt 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.

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

Ryan Stone, however, is ready to come back. Hes been given medical clearance and its 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, theyve gone 5-11-3 since.

Ive been banging my head off the wall, he said. Its been a long six weeks. Whenever it feels good and the coaches say lets go, Ill be good to go. I could play (right now). I wouldnt be 100 per cent, but I dont know if itll be 100 per cent all year, thats what the surgeon said.

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

Shawn Horcoff didnt practice Monday (shoulder) but Quinn expects him to be ready by Detroit.


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