Lombardi optimistic about his progress
LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Matthew Lombardi might not be in the starting lineup for the Maple Leafs when they open in a month, but he will be skating at full speed during training camp.
General manager Brian Burke gave the OK on Tuesday afternoon for full workouts with no contact, following an update from team doctors. When the Leafs acquired Lombardi from the Nashville Predators as part of the greater deal for big defenceman Cody Franson, there was an element of risk that the concussed centre would be out long term. But the symptoms gradually went away during the summer after Lombardi missed almost all of the 2010-11 season.
By the first of this month aerobic conditioning issues were the only factor preventing his return to the ice.
ďItís progressing really well,Ē Lombardi said earlier in the day as he joined his new teammates for a golf outing. ďIím pushing myself and workouts are getting harder. (A full return) is one of those things thatís tough to pinpoint an exact time. I canít say how Iím going to feel in a couple of weeks, but I think itís going as good as it can. Hopefully, there are no setbacks and we can get back game-ready really soon.Ē
When healthy, Lombardi gives the Leafs options at centre on their first three lines.
Fourth-line winger/enforcer Colton Orr was more guarded about his return to full duty from a head injury when asked on Tuesday. Injured eight months ago in a fight with Anaheimís George Parros, Orr has laid low while Burke insisted he would be 100% to start the year.
ďNot yet,Ē Orr said when approached to talk about his condition.