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Cam Fowler of Ducks returns to practice

Defenseman skates with team for first time since injuring knee on April 4

by Dan Arritt / NHL.com Correspondent

ANAHEIM -- Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler was among the participants when they returned to practice at Honda Center on Sunday.

Fowler missed the Western Conference First Round series against the Calgary Flames after sustaining a right knee injury in a regular-season game against the Flames on April 4. He was initially given a recovery time of 2-6 weeks. Fowler first returned to the ice after the morning skate prior to Game 3 against the Flames last Monday.

"It's exciting," Fowler said following the 40-minute skate. "Anytime you can join the team back in practice, it definitely beats going on the ice and skating by yourself. I'm happy to be back and happy to be progressing in the right direction, so it was a good day."

Fowler led Ducks defensemen during the regular season with 39 points (11 goals, 28 assists) in 80 games.

Anaheim took Thursday, Friday and Saturday off following its 3-1 win at Calgary in Game 4 last Wednesday that completed a series sweep.

The Ducks learned their next opponent would be the Edmonton Oilers after the latter eliminated the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of their series on Saturday. The second-round schedule has yet to be announced.

Fowler said he skated by himself on Friday and Saturday. He was pleased with how his knee responded to practice on Sunday.

Video: COL@ANA: Fowler wires a quick shot past Pickard

"I didn't have any tweaks or anything like that, so it was good," he said. 

Fowler said he still needed to experience contact during practice before getting the go-ahead to play in a game. The Ducks made a few line rushes on Sunday, then spent the rest of practice conditioning.

"There wasn't a whole lot of physical contact out there, but I expect everything to hold up just the same," Fowler said. "We still have a few days here before anything happens, so I'm going to take the necessary steps to make sure it's ready."  

Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm skated before practice. He received treatment following Game 4 after taking a hard hit, but coach Randy Carlyle said he expects Lindholm to be ready for Game 1.

Defenseman Sami Vatanen and forward Ryan Kesler did not practice. Caryle said each took maintenance days. Vatanen missed the final three games of the first round because of an upper-body injury.

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