COLUMBUS -- Jared Boll is an ultra-competitive guy, and having to watch his teammates go through the ups and downs of a playoff race is eating him up.
But things took a considerable tick upward today, when he skated for the first time since surgery to repair a torn ankle tendon in mid-December.
He has spent part of his rehab on crutches, part of it in a boot and now he's walking comfortably without the aid of either. It's a small step, he acknowledged, as he skated in a Blue Jackets track suit, stick-and-puck style, in the OhioHealth Ice Haus for a casual skate before calling it a day.
For the first time in two months - easily the longest he's ever had to withhold from hockey activities, he said - Boll was back in his element, if only for a short period of time.
"This is the longest by far," Boll told BlueJackets.com today. "The only injuries I've had have pretty much been broken bones, which are four to six weeks, and then the hernia which was the same time frame."
Making this particular recovery difficult has been the lack of a true timetable, Boll said. With broken bones and things of that nature, there's often time a frame work to look at and target a date. In this case, he's had to take a broader approach and see how the ankle responds to different types of activity before being able to skate.
Even so, today's skate was anything but strenuous.
"Right now, you're kind of just guessing," Boll said. "Some days you feel like you're ahead of schedule and then other days you do something and you feel behind schedule. That's what makes it hard on you.
"I wasn't doing much today, but it's nice to be skating and getting a feel for the puck and the ice again."
Boll said if all continues to go well, he's hopeful for a return sometime in late March or early April.