New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh practiced Tuesday for the first time since separating his left shoulder on Nov. 1.
He said he did not think he would be ready to play Wednesday at the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"I felt pretty encouraged today," McDonagh told BlueshirtsUnited.com. "I had good mobility [in the shoulder] and good strength. The whole training staff has done a great job of trying to get everything back to feeling 100 percent, and it's getting really close."
Coach Alain Vigneault said he expects McDonagh to play within the next week. McDonagh took part in all drills and contact.
The defenseman was expected to miss 3-4 weeks; he has missed 10 games in the 24 days since he was injured. New York is 4-3-3 in those games, 9-7-4 overall.
McDonagh had three assists in 10 games, averaging 23:33 time on ice.