SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers’ Gilbert battles back woes

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

Tom Gilbert knew his consecutive-games streak would eventually have to come to an end.

However, the Edmonton Oilers defenceman was still disappointed when his back gave out, forcing him out of the lineup.

“It’s been lingering for a while,” Gilbert said. “I’ve had back problems in the past. It was tight, but I didn’t think anything like this would happen.

“It was kind of a freak incident, where I was just walking and it seized up on me. It’s just starting to loosen up now. It’s definitely a weird situation. I’ve had my back seize up on me before, but usually it loosens up after a little bit and this time it just locked up.”

Gilbert had played 332 consecutive games for the Oilers before being forced to miss the next two.

It’s not certain whether the Bloomington, Minn., native will be back for the last two.

“I want to try to get back,” Gilbert said. “I think it most depends if whether it’s possible to injure it more. I don’t think that’s the case, but you always have to be precautious with those things. If I can return I’d like to.

“It’s disappointing. Throughout the whole season I could think of a handful of times where it looked like I couldn’t play. But I just had to battle through it.”

Long rehab

Despite skating Thursday, Sam Gagner is still looking at a long rehab process this summer after requiring surgery on his left hand.

The Oilers centre has been out of the lineup since severing a tendon in his hand after being clipped by teammate Ryan Jones’s skate in Washington on March 9.

“As far as skating, it’s just a matter of trying to keep my cardio up,” Gagner said. “It’s a lot more fun than riding the bike. But it’s nice to get out there and feel my skates and feel the puck.

“As far as my hand goes, it’s still along the same timeline (three months). I’ve been doing a lot of physio and treatment on it, and it’s getting a lot better.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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