Duncan Keith returned to practice on Monday for the first time in over two weeks following a groin injury that's sidelined him since the second period of Nov. 29's game against the Avalanche.
"It's a process," said Keith of the injury that involved a lot of patience in healing. "I haven't been out that long but you definitely get an appreciation for when a guy goes down and he's got to work to get back in."
Keith told reporters that the groin injury has been something he's been dealing with for most of the season - both on the left side and the right side of his groin - and partly why he accumulated five maintenance days over the opening two months. During the second period of the Black Friday game against Colorado, the defenseman felt "a pop" that he could no longer play through and ultimately forced him to take the time to fully recover.
"It moved from side to side. It seemed like it was about a month and then it went to the other side and then it got worse on the other side," he said. "It feels good and I want to keep it that way."
Sunday's win over Minnesota marked the ninth consecutive game the Blackhawks were without their blueline leader. Prior to the injury, Keith hadn't missed a game, regular season or playoffs, since April 6, 2017 (189 consecutive regular season and four playoff) and the current run marks the longest Keith has been sidelined since October 2015 when he missed 11 games with a meniscal tear in his right knee.
The defenseman said he's hopeful to return to the lineup on Wednesday as the Avalanche visit the United Center, though he and the training staff are going to continue to take it day by day.
"It felt good out there today and I'm hopeful for that but we'll see how it is the rest of the day and tomorrow and go from there."
"We've got a couple days here," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "But he's moving in the right direction."