The Toronto Maple Leafs saw a positive step in the recovery of Auston Matthews as he practiced with the team on Wednesday for the 1st time since injuring his shoulder on February 22nd.
“I don’t know what they (the medical staff) will do,” Toronto head coach Mike Babcock said (h/t NHL.com). “I just noticed he was wearing red today; we don’t have a whole lot of red in our uniform.”
There is currently no timetable for his return.
Matthews skated wearing a red non-contact jersey on his own prior to joining the first 20 minutes of the main session Wednesday but did not participate in line rushes or special-teams drills and departed after 20 minutes.
“He’s working hard on his conditioning and the big thing about this injury, you have your legs,” Babcock said of Matthews on Saturday.
“When you come back from the previous injury, you don’t have any legs because you didn’t do anything so I think jumping right in and being ready to go when it’s time to come back will be positive for him. He won’t have to get his conditioning back; he’ll have it back already.”
The Maple Leafs are 7-6-2 in the 15 games that Matthews has missed and 1-2-2 in the five games he’s missed since the February 22nd game.
“I think it’s good for him mentally instead of just hanging out by yourself,” Babcock said.
“We were gone for 10 days and these are his buddies so who do you hang out in Toronto with? I think the priority for him obviously is to do as much as he can each day and then when he’s ready or over-ready, we’ll get him back in the lineup.”