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Giordano taking strides towards return

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

ANAHEIM, CA -- The captain is back…to participating in full practice.

Under the caution of limited contact, Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano joined teammates for a skate at Anaheim Ice on Saturday in his first full practice since undergoing what was expected to be season-ending surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon in March.

“I think at times it gets frustrating,” he said. “As you go through it and get closer and closer to the end, it’s a lot better for sure. Being out there with the guys today, it was a lot of fun for me. It’s my first time in a long time. Just being able to participate in some drills like I did today was nice.

“It feels great, sort of getting out there and getting the timing and speed out there with the main guys. I’m happy that I took maybe another little step here getting closer.”

Giordano originally sustained the injury, a complete tendon tear, in the late stages of a win against the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 25.

As the Flames prolong their season, hope grows that Giordano might, too.

But there’s no updated timetable for Giordano, who is just nine weeks removed from surgery.

“I think overall, rehab has gone really well so far,” said Giordano, whose regular season numbers topped out at 37 assists and 48 points -- both career highs -- in 61 skates. “You can’t really put a timeline on it. You’ve got to see how you function out there and how you feel, but so far everything has gone really smoothly. Hopefully it keeps going that way.

“We haven’t really talked about putting a date on it. I think it’s going to be a lot more of this stuff and ramping it up more before I can even think of playing (and) obviously at the end of the day, talking to our medical staff about it.”

Flames coach Bob Hartley wouldn’t stamp a date on the return of the potential captain, either, who will, like he has since sustaining the injury, watch teammates challenge the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round series Sunday (8 p.m. MT, Sportsnet, SN960).

It’s status quo, for now.

“Nothing has changed,” he said. “It's all about doing what's right for our player. We've been like this all season. Our players are the best assets that this organization has. The medical staff is working with [Giordano] every day and you know how Mark Giordano is committed. Today, it's a good step in the right direction but he's still very far.

“Today, it was very limited contact. We're going to keep ramping him up and we'll see.”

The excitement around Giordano is building, though.

Originally expected to be out four-to-five months, the 31-year-old is well ahead of the curve.

It’s given a bit of juice to teammates who will try to even the series in Anaheim.

“It’s exciting for us to see him and he’s worked so hard to get to this point,” forward Joe Colborne said. “He’s the backbone of this team. Anytime you see him kind of make that next step in his recovery is exciting for us. He’s a freak. It’s beyond shocking us anymore. He’s such a machine and he does everything the right way and that’s why he is the captain.”

Teammates were excited to watch Giordano participating in full capacity on the ice.

That feeling wasn’t necessarily reciprocated.

Watching, Giordano admitted, isn’t his forte.

“I mean, there’s eight teams left and we have to beat three to get the ultimate goal,” he started. “Yeah, it sucks to watch.

“It’s tough not being part of it but I honestly feel like I’ve been taking some good steps here lately and hopefully in the next few skates I keep feeling better and better and progress again and go from there.”

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