EDMONTON, AB - When asked after Monday morning's practice to put a percentage behind a personal evaluation of his own recovery from a broken fibula, Adam Larsson went for triple digits.
"100 percent," said the Swedish defenceman.
"I feel good. I feel really good. I've been skating for two weeks now, so it's been a long couple of weeks and I'm really glad to be back. Obviously this was the first real practice with the team, so we have a couple of days to get up to speed."
Video: RAW | Larsson 11.18.19
It's tough for any player to learn they'll be out long term due to injury, let alone receiving the news after blocking a shot in the first period of the first game of a new season and continuing to play through with 22:19 of total ice time.
"No one wants to be out long term, and fortunately I got it early," Larsson said. "But at the same time if you got to go through that, everybody handles it in different ways and I feel like I've been working hard in the gym to get back to where I came in this summer. So it's been a couple of tough days, but I'm glad to be back again."
Larsson's perseverance and recovery had the blueliner back on skates in week five of the six-to-eight-week recovery period, with the 27-year-old now slated for a return to game action with the Oilers as soon as week seven with his club set for a five-game road trip where they'll meet four Pacific Division opponents.
"Today was really his first action practice," Tippett said. "He'll skate tomorrow morning, we'll see where he's at, and if he doesn't play tomorrow then we'll skate on Wednesday and see where he's at Thursday. I think we have to recognize first that he's been out a long time, so with him coming back, it's not like he's going to jump into mid-season form. It's going to take him a few games to get up and going."
Video: RAW | Coach Tippett 11.18.19
"That being said, I've been around the game a long time and I've never seen somebody work as hard to get back. Especially coming off a broken bone. So he's been pushing, he'll play at some point here, and he's anxious to play."
What Larsson left behind in minutes and leadership were shared through the defensive corps that's limited opponents to 2.73 goals-against per game this season - good enough for sixth in the NHL.
The Swede's arrival back into the Oilers fold on this upcoming road trip will be an extra benefit to a club that's already achieved early success just past the quarter mark of the season with the top record in the Pacific at 13-6-3.
"You can't replace a guy like Lars. You have to do it by committee," defenceman Kris Russell said. "So what he brings not only on the ice, but in this locker room, he's a big part of it and a premiere shutdown guy in this league. He can play some heavy minutes and make it hard on the other teams' skill guys, so we know when we get him back it'll obviously be an added boost."