ST. LOUIS – Blues defenseman Barret Jackman
participated with no limitations in Monday’s practice and could return to the lineup Wednesday night in Nashville.
Jackman has been out since spraining his right knee Nov. 4 vs San Jose.
“He looked pretty good out there,” said Blues coach Davis Payne. “He’s been skating pretty hard the past couple of days and it’s a matter of getting him up to the battle pace and speed of execution. He’s cleared and obviously we will check in on the progress made today and see where that gets us tomorrow.
“We think that there’s a possibility (he could play Wednesday). We have to make sure that today was a good day for him with the extra bumping and battling that was going on out there and make sure everything responds correctly and positively and we’ll make that assessment tomorrow.”
Jackman was injured after being hit by San Jose’s Ryane Clowe in the corner during the second period of the Blues 2-0 win at Scottrade Center. Jackman left the ice momentarily but returned for the rest of the game.
Arguably the Blues top defensive defenseman and a key contributor on the penalty kill, Jackman has missed the Blues last nine games.
“I just tried to skip out of a check and I got my leg pinned against the boards and took a good knee to the outside of my knee,” Jackman said. “I knew there was something seriously wrong but the adrenaline was still pumping through the body. I didn’t relax mentally or physically for the pain to set in but once the game was over, you definitely knew there was something wrong.
“It was a situation where you could heavily tape it and brace it and play through it, but really that would be stupid at this point in the year to try and play through something that could linger the rest of the year and through the off season so we decided to sit out a couple weeks, three weeks, and make sure everything is 100 percent before I get back in.”
The Blues recently got defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo
back in the lineup but are still without Roman Polak
, who likely won’t be back until January with a lacerated wrist.
Jackman’s return gives a much needed boost to a defensive unit that allowed 18 goals in three games on the road before buckling down their past two games in wins at home.
"(Jackman) is a leader and to be this close and anticipating his return here shortly is good,” Payne said. “It’s good for our PK, it’s good for our defensive group. It’s good for that defensive intent, that defensive attitude. We are a checking team, a tough checking team a fast checking team, and he brings a lot of that identity to us. So to be anticipating his return is a very good thing.”
The Blues suffered a tough five-game losing streak with Jackman on injured reserve. They are currently 4-4-1 without him out of the lineup.
“It’s hard either way,” Jackman said. “When the team is winning you definitely want to be a part of it and when they are losing, you want to contribute and help out in some way. Anytime you are sitting on the side, whether just a healthy scratch or an injury, you’re biting at the bit to get in there.
“We’re going to take it day by day and wait and see. We’ve got another practice tomorrow and a pregame skate. We don’t want to rush it. We’ll see. The coaches have to be comfortable with me in the lineup with what they see in practice and I have to be comfortable to not go out there and put myself in a bad position.”B.J. Rains covers the Blues for the team's television partner, Fox Sports Midwest. You can read more at FoxSportsMidwest.com.