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Laine practices with Jets, no timetable for return

Winnipeg rookie skates in drills for first time since sustaining concussion Jan. 7

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Rookie forward Patrik Laine practiced with the Winnipeg Jets on Friday for the first time since sustaining a concussion on Jan. 7.

Laine wore a yellow non-contact jersey and participated in drills with the Jets, who host the St. Louis Blues on Saturday (3 p.m. ET; TSN3, FS-MW, NHL.TV).

"It was nice to go out there with the team and getting back in shape," Laine said. "I'm feeling pretty good."

Laine has missed six games after being injured 5:51 into the third period of a 4-3 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on a center-ice hit by defenseman Jake McCabe.

Laine said he doesn't remember much about the hit.

"I got the puck and that's it," he said. "I can't remember anything else. That's all. It wasn't a good feeling. But that kind of stuff happens. I hope I won't get hit like that again."

Laine experienced headaches and tiredness, and he had difficulty focusing. But he said he's been symptom-free for a couple of days.

"It's been pretty good now," he said.

There is no timetable for Laine's return, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice. He will have to go through a full contact practice first and will not play Saturday.

Instead, Laine will skate again on Saturday and the Jets will ramp up his participation if he feels good and has no setbacks.

"It's going to work like this: He's absolutely not getting back into a game until he's 100 percent," Maurice said. "The next phase, you'll know it, his sweater color will change."

Laine said it is his first concussion and chose to look at the positives of being sidelined.

"I played half the season before the hit, so I think it was a good couple weeks break," he said. "I have a lot of energy when I'm going to come back. It doesn't matter how long you're out of the games. I'm still young and have a lot of the games ahead of me so I don't have to rush anything."

Laine skated for the first time prior to Winnipeg's morning skate on Wednesday, working with Jets director of fitness Dr. Craig Slaunwhite.

The No. 2 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Laine, 18, is second among NHL rookies with 21 goals and tied for second with 37 points. Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews leads rookie scorers with 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists). Laine's 21 goals lead the Jets; he has one more than forward Mark Scheifele.

Laine was named last week to the Central Division team for the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Jan. 29

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