(Voorhees, NJ) – Mike Richards said on Monday that he hopes to return this weekend in time for the Flyers’ game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Garden. Richards has been out with a partially torn left hamstring suffered on February 23 during a game against the Florida Panthers.
The All-Star center continues to lead the team in scoring with 23 goals and 43 assists for 66 points in 62 games. Should he return Saturday, it will have been exactly three weeks since he got hurt.
“It feels good, and there's not a whole lot of pain,” said Richards, after skating with the team and then staying on the ice for about 20 minutes afterwards with Joffrey Lupul, who is out with a high right ankle sprain. “[I] can feel a little bit when it starts getting tired near the end of practice, but it's more about the strength and getting it back in the shape where I can push off people and have a good, powerful stride.
|Mike Richards gets tangled up with Florida's Jay Bouwmeester during the Flyers-Panthers game on February 23, injuring himself on the play. (Getty Images) |
“If it gets better by this weekend, I'll play. I don't want to say I'm going to play Saturday and get my hopes up, but I feel that's somewhat realistic. Hopefully it continues getting better like it has and I'll be back sooner [rather] than later.”
Richards added that he won’t come back until he is completely sure he can play the normal, physical style that has made him successful.
“[If I can’t] push off people or battle down low as well as I should be able to, I'm not going to come back early and jeopardize the team,” he said.
The Flyers play a home-and-home with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday and Wednesday before facing Boston on Saturday. Philadelphia is in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.