BROSSARD, Que. -- Andrei Markov skated with his teammates for a second straight day today and spoke with reporters for the first time in two months, but was unable to shed any light as to when he might be able to return and lend a hand to the Montreal Canadiens' ailing defense corps.
"I'm happy to be back practicing with the team," Markov told reporters. "Finally, I'm doing something different."
The one-year anniversary of Markov's second ACL tear in his right knee passed Sunday, and the team against which he suffered the injury -- the Carolina Hurricanes -- is in town Wednesday.
But after two days of practice with teammates where he looked a little tentative on the ice, Markov does not want to answer the question that has been on everyone's mind all season -- when will he be back playing?
"Next question," Markov said twice when asked for a vague timeline for a return.
"I don’t know. I don't have a particular time for when I'll be back," Markov finally said. "I'm happy with my progress, I'm happy to be skating with the team. Hopefully tomorrow it will feel much better than today."
The Canadiens certainly could use Markov's help right now.
Chris Campoli only recently started to skate on his own after tearing his hamstring on opening night, and Jaroslav Spacek was lost to an upper-body injury in Monday's shootout loss to Buffalo. Hal Gill missed practice Tuesday after sitting out the Sabres game with a virus.
Gill’s status for Wednesday's game against the Hurricanes remains unknown, while Spacek surely won't play.
If Gill can't go, the Canadiens defense against Carolina will have just one member with more than two seasons of NHL experience -- Josh Gorges.
Up front, the Canadiens will welcome back Michael Cammalleri, who missed Monday's game with a lower-body injury. Andrei Kostitsyn's foot injury will keep him out all week, coach Jacques Martin said.