EDMONTON - He’d been out for over a month with an ankle injury, but on Sunday Jim Vandermeer made his return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators.
The Oilers defenceman didn’t look out of place having missed 14 games.
“I didn’t feel too bad,” said Vandermeer. “When you’re out for a month in the season and then you’re thrown back out there, it feels a little different.
“I didn’t feel slow out there, but at times, it did feel a little uncomfortable, maybe my timing was off a little bit. Overall, though, I felt happy with how I played in my first game back.”
Vandermeer rolled his ankle in a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 16.
He was off it for two weeks and attempted to come back and play on it only to reinjure it.
“Ankle injuries can be funny things,” Vandermeer said. “It’s one of those low blood-flow areas and it’s really easy to tweak them again.
“When I came back the first time, I felt great. I felt like nothing had happened and then a game and-a-half later it was exactly how it was before. But I’m happy with how it’s come along and, hopefully, I’ll be able to stay in the lineup.”
Against the Predators, Vandermeer played 13:39, picked up an assist and had a couple of shots on net. He has a goal and five assists in 27 games this season.
“I think the biggest thing is not worrying about the injury, getting it out of your mind and just going out there and playing,” Vandermeer said. “I think, mentally, that’s what hurts some guys sometimes, they kind of favour it a bit and for some reason they get caught in an awkward position on the ice and it seems like they get hurt again.
“I just have to push on ahead and go out there and play.”