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Monahan happy to be back with teammates

The pivot skated with the team on Sunday morning and is happy with his recovery process

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

CALGARY, AB -- Sean Monahan's back is better. And it's allowed him to get back to his teammates. 

The Calgary Flames centre returned to practice Sunday for the first time in training camp after sustaining a back strain in training last month.

"I think it's huge," Monahan said. "It's my first skate with the guys. Mentally it feels good to be out there with them and moving the puck around. I've been doing some skates here with Marty and doing a lot of work in the gym and doing a lot of rehab. This is moving along quickly. I feel strong and I'm confident right now.

"We're taking it day-by-day now. I don't want to be wearing the yellow jersey. I was happy to get out there with the boys today. I felt good. I'm confident. I feel strong. I'm just looking to move forward with this."

Monahan had been limited to solo skates with assistant coach Martin Gelinas before joining teammates in their game-day skate.

Video: Monahan talks to Flames TV about his recovery

"It's more precautionary. If it was the season and something like this was going on I'd probably be playing. Right now there's no timeline. We're just trying to make sure I don't think about it mentally or have it nagging throughout the season. We're trying to get rid of it and we're almost there."

Monahan had a NHL career-high 63 points (27 goals, 36 assists) in 81 games last season, and in 237 career NHL games has 80 goals and 159 points. 

He's a welcomed sight for Flames coach Glen Gulutzan.

"I'm just glad he's out there," Gulutzan said. "It's a good morning skate for him where there's no contact and let him get a sweat in. I know he was quite excited about it, getting out with the boys and being out there. It was a light little go-round. It's good for him. It's encouraging to see him on the ice. We'll see how he is on the ice and we'll just keep him progression."

There's no timetable in place for a return to game action just yet.

Calgary has two pre-season games remaining: the Arizona Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday, and the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Thursday.

While it would be ideal for Monahan to play, no decision has been made.

"I think it's better for him, but then again none of that is going to get rushed by us," Gulutzan said. "Health overrides everything else. We've got a few good days of practice after that Thursday game in Vancouver. The way we practice we can modify game pretty close and get him up to speed pretty close. We'd ideally like to see him in a game but we're not rushing him."

Monahan is on board with the plan.

"You'd like to get a game in, for the timing and stuff like that, but there's still a lot of practice time to go through and work on faceoff and such," he said. "You can do that in practice. That's one of the big things as a centerman. It all comes down to timing.

"As a group here and with the physio guys and the team, we don't have a timeline right now. We're taking it day-by-day. As of right now I feel good. I was out there with the guys today skating around. I feel strong on the ice. That's a good sign. I'm just going to continue to take it day-by-day."

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