Damon Severson and Stephen Gionta have resumed skating and continue to work toward a return to the lineup, Devils’ President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello announced Tuesday.
Severson, one of the early bright spots for the Devils this season, has missed 22 games with a non-displaced hairline fracture in his left ankle. The rookie defenseman posted eight points (4g-4a) in his first 11 games but has been out of action since Dec. 15. The injury was announced on Dec. 18 and was expected to keep him on the shelf for four-to-five weeks.
"Now it’s conditioning and time,” Lamoriello said, not ruling out the possibility of a rehab stint for Severson in Albany (AHL). "We’ll see exactly where he’s at as far as what his rehab situation is. He’s not going to go play anywhere until he’s 100 percent. If that’s the best thing for him depending on the practices and how he is, then that’ll be done. He’s been off a long time."
Severson skated Tuesday and Lamoriello is hopeful going forward.
"He’s young, we really don’t know what his rehab situation, his reconditioning is,” Lamoriello said. "They should recover quickly, but he’s still a young player."
Gionta, who has missed 16 games, is working his way back from a broken hand sustained blocking a Kris Letang shot on Dec. 29. The plan is for the centerman to join the first 15 to 20 minutes of practices to build his conditioning before resuming full contact.
"We want to get him in shape before you get him into contact because if you’re not in shape and get into contact, that’s when you re-injure something,” Lamoriello said.
The Devils did not skate the day after their 2-1 loss to Edmonton at Prudential Center. After an 8-2-2 run that included a three-game winning streak, New Jersey has dropped back-to-back regulation losses for the first time since Dec. 31 and Jan. 2.
"I think that we’ve been coming along pretty good,” Lamoriello said. "I think we’ve been playing well. But I think, and I put this responsibility on me, I think that a couple of things while we were winning, were creeping in. I think maybe you get the approach that they’ll correct themselves, and we hit a little bit where it was to the point that it was unacceptable."