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Rielly returns to practice with Maple Leafs, could play next week

Defenseman has missed 20 games with broken foot

by @NHLdotcom

Morgan Rielly practiced with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday for the first time since breaking his foot Jan. 12.

The defenseman, injured during an 8-4 loss to the Florida Panthers, was expected to be out eight weeks.

Rielly skated with defensemen Timothy Liljegren and Cody Ceci during practice in San Jose. It was Ceci's first practice since injuring his ankle Feb. 5 in a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers.

Coach Sheldon Keefe said Rielly and Ceci won't play on the Maple Leafs' three-game road trip, which starts Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center (10:30 p.m. ET; ESPN+, NBCSCA, SNO, NHL.TV).

"We're looking at next week for both of them," Keefe said. "I would think that when we get back next week, it will be a sort of day to day type of thing from there, assuming everything goes really well."

Rielly led Toronto defensemen with 27 points (three goals, 24 assists) in 46 games at the time of his injury. The Maple Leafs are 11-7-2 (.600 points percentage) in the 20 games Rielly has missed. They were 24-16-6 (.587 points percentage) prior to his injury.

"Obviously, [it's] very positive for us to see him on the ice," Keefe said "He steps right into doing a lot of our drills, full-contact drills. He's been feeling really good. We've just got to make sure that everything has the appropriate amount of time before he gets into a game."

Forward Ilya Mikheyev practiced for the first time since he was injured Dec. 27 in a 5-4 overtime win against the New Jersey Devils. He had surgery to repair an artery and tendons in his right wrist that were severed by a skate blade, and he is expected to return this season, Keefe said.

The Maple Leafs (35-23-8) have won three straight games and are five points ahead of the Florida Panthers for third place in the Atlantic Division.

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