Tucker a go, Wellwood a no

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

Darcy Tucker was at home nursing an aching foot, a throbbing souvenir of the Maple Leafs' 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday.

Kyle Wellwood was in street clothes, his hip flexor/groin issues more serious than first thought.

Injured forwards Nik Antropov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Michael Peca were nowhere to be seen during practice, tucked inside the dressing room receiving treatment while their teammates were being run through various drills out on the ice by coach Paul Maurice.

So short of bodies was Maurice yesterday he again was forced to move defenceman Brendan Bell up to forward for the various line rushes.

Fortunately, it's unlikely he'll have to revert to such desperate measures tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, since Tucker is hoping to lace up the blades against Sidney Crosby and friends.

"He has been hit by a lot of pucks," Maurice said of Tucker. "He was hit by a shot against Minnesota. We're fortunate he hasn't broken anything to this point."

Besides, Tucker probably hasn't been 100% healthy since the opening day of training camp. Yet he continues to take a regular shift almost every night.

"It was just a maintenance day," he said. "I plan on playing against Pittsburgh."

The same cannot be said of Wellwood, who has taken a step backward in his attempts to return to the lineup and is not expected to suit up for games against the Pens on Friday and Ottawa on Saturday.

"I thought things were getting better but there could be a setback the next time I try to skate," Wellwood said. "I would need to be able to practise before being able to play a game. And I'm definitely not there within the week."

Maurice acknowledged Wellwood's plight.

"I think Welly has gone from day-to-day to a little more than that," he said. "It's not getting better.

"He went on the ice briefly (Tuesday) and didn't feel well at all. So we backed off. All the treatments, there are no strength or conditioning programs at all, it's all medical treatment, ultrasound ... I'm not sure of everything that's involved and I'm not sure I want to know.

"He's not healing or improving as quickly as I hoped."


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