Tucker happy to skate

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

Darcy Tucker yesterday took his first strides toward a return to the Maple Leafs lineup.

Tucker, nursing small cracks in his left foot, skated for approximately 15 minutes at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia before the morning skate. Tucker suffered the injury Dec. 26 in a game against the Minnesota Wild, and played in one game afterward, on Jan. 1 against the Boston Bruins. A cast had been placed on Tucker's foot on Jan. 20.

"It's nice to see a smile on his face," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "Grumpy son of a gun has been walking around the room chewing nails for the past month. He got everything accomplished (on the ice) except for playing (last night). I'm really happy to see him back."

Tucker is scheduled to skate again tomorrow in Montreal, as long as no swelling occurred as a result of getting out on the rink yesterday.

"Being out there was enjoyable," Tucker said. "I can't really give you a timeline as to when I am going to play. Let's just say I am going to work toward getting 100% healed and back to where I am not going to have any issues."

Centre Kyle Wellwood, who had sports hernia surgery last month, confirmed he spent Wednesday in Vancouver, going through core exercises with a specialist in an appointment arranged by Leafs strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Nichol. Wellwood remains a month away from game action.


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