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Injured defencemen Byfuglien, Myers back at practice

by Ryan Dittrick (@ryandittrick) / Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG – Home, sweet home, indeed. The Winnipeg Jets got some great news on the injury front today as both Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers were back on the ice for practice wearing regular-contact sweaters.

Head Coach Paul Maurice said both players will be assessed in the morning and if everything checks out, “there’s a possibility” they could draw back into the lineup tomorrow against the San Jose Sharks.

“It was good to have them back out there today,” Maurice said. “Dustin’s fairly close to where we thought he would be and as for Tyler, we got some good news on him over the last couple days. … We’re pretty optimistic that (Myers) is on the short end of it and we’ll see him soon. Dustin’s a little ahead of where we thought he might be. Everybody feels differently, but he feels good.

“We’ll see how they do tomorrow before making any decisions.”

Byfuglien suffered an upper-body injury on Mar. 4 vs. Ottawa and was expected to miss two-to-four weeks. Myers, meanwhile, has missed only one game after crashing heavily into the boards in last week’s loss to the Florida Panthers.

“It’s never fun sitting out no matter what time of the year it is,” Myers said. “Luckily it was only one game but I’m feeling a lot better now and I should be good to go tomorrow.”

While the Jets embarked on a four-game road trip, Byfuglien was back home getting a few skates in before the full team practices resumed.

“It was nice to come back and see the guys. I kind of missed them,” Byfuglien said with a smile.

Unfortunately for the Jets, the good news on the injury front was met with its fair share of bad. The team’s top centre, Bryan Little, remains out with an upper-body injury and defenceman Paul Postma, who played so well in Saturday’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, will be out for some time as he recovers from a “significant” lower-body injury sustained in the second period of that 2-1 victory.

“He played through it,” Maurice said of Postma, who saw over 23 minutes of ice time and had a pair of blocked shots. “You come back and you think you’re going to be all right, but we appreciate the bite that it took for him to get through that game. It’s a real test of mental toughness. With those kind of injuries players go through a bit of a depression because it’s hard of a hard thing to deal
with – especially with all the hard work he put in (after not playing for two months).”

Little, Mathieu Perreault (lower body) and Ben Chiarot (hand) all skated on a separate sheet at MTS Iceplex and according to the coach, there are no surprises when it comes to the trio’s recovery

“It's going as planned. Nobody’s coming back early,” Maurice said. “We’ll continue with them and get them into some physical contact before we can even think about bringing them back. … There are timelines with injuries that are a medical thing: ‘Usually it takes this long.’ Then there are stages: ‘He’s at this stage right now.’ He can skate, he can move. Before we get to that stage (with Little), we need to see some strength there. And when that happens, he’ll get back in. He’s right in that spectrum from a medical point of view, but he’s a professional athlete playing a full contact
sport so there are other things that mitigate that.”

Toby Enstrom and Andrew Ladd both missed practice, but are “expected” to play tomorrow night against the Sharks, who trail the Jets by four points for the second of two wild card spots in the Western Conference playoff race.

— Ryan Dittrick,

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