joined the Carolina Hurricanes on the ice Sunday for a 30-minute practice in what was another important step forward for the goaltender.
Ward has recently been skating with other injured players and assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour. On Saturday, he put in a brief on-ice session at the tail end of the team’s morning skate.
Sunday marked his first practice with the team since suffering a lower-body injury on Oct. 24 in Minnesota. Head coach Kirk Muller circled up with Ward at center ice after practice.
“He just told me that today was a pretty good day, that he was feeling good,” Muller said. “Tomorrow he wants to get a full practice in with the guys and monitor it as the practices roll along here.”
At the time of his injury, the prognosis was that he’d be sidelined for three to four weeks. Thursday, Nov. 14 will mark the three-week point, which puts Ward a bit ahead of schedule, certainly not a bad thing for the Canes who are currently without both their No. 1 and No. 2 goaltenders.
Looking ahead at the schedule, Tuesday’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche isn’t a true option for Ward at this point, as he will require a few team practices before he’s ready to man the crease for a 60-minute game.
“We’ve just got to watch and see him improve each day … before he gets pain free, solid and healthy,” Muller said.
An earliest possible return could be the upcoming weekend back-to-back set with Anaheim and St. Louis. But even that isn’t etched in stone, as it is entirely dependent on how Ward responds to full team practices.
“He needs to be healthy and 100 percent,” Muller said. “He needs practices, and he needs to be looking sharp and confident.”
In other injury news, defenseman Tim Gleason rejoined the Canes at practice today, as well, while Jeff Skinner, Anton Khudobin and Kevin Westgarth continue to put in on-ice work on their own. A full, up-to-date injury report can be found here.