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Flames GM says Smid nearing return after surgery

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames defenseman Ladislav Smid is pushing to work his way back into the rotation, general manager Brad Treliving said.

The 29-year-old last played Jan. 19, a month after taking a high hit from then-Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Simon Despres. He had surgery in February on the herniated disc in his neck.

Smid is participating in informal skates at WinSport at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary and is gearing up for a potential return after a recent meeting with doctors in California.

"It was good. It was positive," Treliving said Wednesday. "[Ladislav] looks really good. The injury is healing, it'll be close to a month, I think, from when he got seen to when he gets seen at training camp as to whether he can participate.

"My sense right now is everything's progressing, but he's not necessarily going to be ready for contact at training camp, and getting a better sense when that will be. It was a positive report. We'll see where he is. There are still steps to take when he gets to camp."

Smid sustained an upper-body injury on Despres' hit in Calgary's 3-1 loss Dec. 12. He played three more games scattered over the next five weeks before opting for surgery on the herniated disc.

It's not the first time Smid has had to recover from that type of surgery.

As a member of the Edmonton Oilers, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound defenseman underwent surgery on his neck after a 2010 injury.

Each operation was performed in Los Angeles.

Smid had one assist in 31 games with the Flames last season and has one goal and seven points in 87 games since being acquired by Calgary from the Oilers on Nov. 8, 2013, along with goaltender Olivier Roy for forward Roman Horak and goaltender Laurent Brossoit.

In 561 career NHL games, Smid has 12 goals, 72 points and 466 penalty minutes.

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