Ailing Leafs slowly on the mend

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

CALGARY -- The Maple Leafs had enough bright gold sweaters identifying their injured players that they illuminated the darkness of the old Corral, where they practised yesterday afternoon.

Two of their five hurting players could be back for tomorrow night's game next door at the Saddledome, the first of a three-game Western Canadian trip.

C Jason Allison (fractured left ring finger): He practised with the team for the first time, his finger in a splint.

"I've played through a lot of injuries before and you always try and figure out a way," Allison said. "I'll probably have to wear the brace the next five weeks. Today was the first day trying to handle the puck and shoot. I'm very optimistic. It's getting better every day."

RW Darcy Tucker (strained ribs): He stayed off skates to maintain training room therapy.

"You know him, he'll want to play," coach Pat Quinn said. "But we'll be cautious. He has a history of trying to push himself a bit to get back in the lineup. Sometimes there's some risk to that."

Tucker is the Leafs' goal leader with 17 and doesn't want to disappoint a number of friends and family who've been looking forward to the Leafs only visit here until 2008-09.

"We have a couple of days to go yet," Tucker said.

"If there's any way possible, I'll be there."

D Carlo Colaiacovo (sprained right wrist): He had trouble gripping the stick with his heavily bandaged hand and had a new tape job applied after practice.

"The positive thing is I'm keeping my skating going," he said. "I came on the trip with the intention of playing. It's a six-day trip and I'm taking it a day at a time."

C Eric Lindros (torn right wrist ligament): Still only able to grip the stick with just one hand, he remains on the injured reserve list.

"We're going to hold it in a cast for two weeks and hope it heals, and if it doesn't, look at other alternatives," Lindros said.

Surgery remains a possibility.

LW Nik Antropov (right knee strain): Looked much better than in recent workouts, but is keeping his condition a private topic with team medical staff.


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