Jaromir Jagr returned to practice on Tuesday to take part in his first team skate in nearly two weeks.
Jagr, who had been sidelined by lower body soreness, was put on a line with Michael Ryder and Adam Henrique.
"I was practicing so I'm glad I didn't get injured again," Jagr joked. "I survived practice. I guess that's the first step."
Back on Sept. 12 – the first day veterans were on ice – Jagr skated for a only a few minutes before leaving practice early.
"I knew it wasn't good when that happened to me in the first practice," he said. "Probably had something to do with the long plane ride. Traveling for 15 hours [from the Czech Republic], it's not easy. I knew had extra time than during the regular season, so I want to be strong as I can be and make sure nothing bad happens again. Nothing's guaranteed, but I just wanted to make sure."
He's missed four preseason games, and was set to miss his fifth with the Devils in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. But Jagr didn't rule out Thursday's preseason finale against the Flyers.
"If I could, I would like to," he said. "I was practicing on my own, now I would have probably two, three practices before the game, and the game is something different, too. The one-on-one battles – it's totally different."
Playing in a game situation would help Jagr get ready in time for the Oct. 3 season opener in Pittsburgh.
"It's about, for me, to get confidence before the season starts," he said. "Even though my season was so long last year, I would still like to play some [preseason] games before the regular games."
Asked if there was any doubt he would be ready by the start of the season, Jagr knocked on wood.
"Hopefully nothing bad happens in that time," he said. "Hopefully tomorrow's going to be better than today, and you just go from there."
Jagr's return was good news for Devils' GM Lou Lamoriello, who also updated the status of Mattias Tedenby and Andrei Loktionov.
"Right now we've got everybody close to healthy," Lamoriello said. "Teddy and Loktionov skated on their own earlier and that'll just go slowly."