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Flyers' Simmonds skates for first time since injury

by Tal Pinchevsky / NHL.com

For the first time since being diagnosed with a concussion following an illegal hit that earned Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine a three-game suspension, Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds skated Wednesday, participating in some isolated hockey drills.

Simmonds hasn't played since the game in Washington on Feb. 1.

"I felt pretty good. I think everything went well today," Simmonds told reporters following the skate. "We'll just have to see what happens."

The incident occurred early in the game against Washington, which the Capitals won 3-2. While breaking out of his defensive zone to start an apparent odd-man rush toward the Washington end, Simmonds caught Erskine's elbow in the face. The Capitals defenseman was not issued a penalty on the play but was subsequently issued a three-game ban.

Simmonds confirmed he received a text from Erskine, who denied any intent to injure.

"He sent me a text message apologizing for what happened. I'm happy he did that," Simmonds said. "I've watched him play. He plays physical and I've never seen him intentionally try to hurt anyone. Sometimes things happen."

In Simmonds' absence, the Flyers have won two games in a row. Their next game will be on Thursday against the Florida Panthers at home, where a win would give them their longest winning streak of the young season. Though he said he felt good skating Wednesday, Simmonds didn't know if he would be in the lineup.

"I was headache free the whole time. That's obviously a good thing," Simmonds said. "I can't tell you if I'm going to play tomorrow or not. It's up to the medical staff. If I have more tests to do, I'll do more tests."

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