Carlo making headway

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

The moment Carlo Colaiacovo's blades touched the ice at Lakeshore Lions Arena yesterday, the young defenceman knew he had made a significant step on his road to recovery.

Colaiacovo's on-ice workout marked the first time he had skated since wobbling off the ice during the opening day of training camp, Sept. 15.

But there is a long way to go.

Colaiacovo has no idea when he'll get the green light to begin practising with his teammates again. Nor can he allow himself to think about it.

"Whenever my body is ready, I'll be back," he said. "That's all I can tell you right now. That's all I know.

"At least I was allowed to skate, which was great. I was out there with (Leafs assistant coach) Randy Ladouceur for about 30 minutes before the team came out to practice. I felt pretty good, although there was a lot of rust."

Colaiacovo was cleared to begin off-ice workouts by concussion specialist Dr. Karen Johnston earlier this week. Johnston made the decision after determining Colaiacovo's wooziness was not related to the serious concussion he suffered during a game in Ottawa in January.

Now, having had the chance to skate again, he must play the frustrating waiting game, one that is driving him bonkers. After all, no one, including the young defenceman himself, knows when he'll be able to return.

"I'm nowhere near the pace the rest of the team is at," he said. "Right now they are much too far ahead of me.

"I just want to play. I miss it. I can't stand watching the other guys out there playing. I want so badly to be part of it, yet I just don't know when that will happen."

At least Colaiacovo is back on the ice. The same cannot be said for fellow blue line hopefuls Brendan Bell (foot) and Staffan Kronwall (ankle), a pair of players coach Paul Maurice does not expect to return in the immediate future.

The absence of the three defencemen has opened the door for fellow youngsters Andy Wozniewski, Ian White and Jay Harrison to make a good run at making the team.


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