CALGARY, AB -- On Thursday afternoon, veteran defenceman Steve Staios fully took part in practice and is optimistic he'll be able to return to the lineup in the near future.
"I feel like as close as I can be and I'm just waiting for the go-ahead," he said. "I tried to take a little more contact today at practice to see how it reacts."
Staios has been sitting on the sidelines since Dec. 7 thanks to rib and shoulder maladies. He couldn't pinpoint an exact date he'll be able to jump back into action but says he's ready to go whenever he's called upon.
"I'm getting ready for every day. I'm not entirely sure but I think I want to stay prepared just in case I can get in sooner rather than later."
Throughout his career, the rugged blueliner has suffered various injuries but believes this is one of the most serious he's ever been stricken with.
"This one was probably the most painful I've had in my career," Staios said. "In the area that it's in, the strength is there, the fitness is there and you're ready to go back in but they just don't allow you to take contact until everything's all mended up just because the fact that if you took another hit to that area, it could set you back again."
The month and a half in the press box hasn't been the easy experience for Staios, especially with the team battling for a playoff position.
"It's definitely frustrating," he sighed. "Injuries are part of the game and you've got to deal with them the right way. I feel like when I get the call to get back in, I can help the team out.
"That's the thing that I've been focusing on. That helps you get through the tough days. You try to keep your confidence up, your fitness up and you stay ready to go."