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BLOG: Schultz closing in on return

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

Justin Schultz is close to returning from his back injury, but it won’t be tomorrow in North Carolina.

The Oilers defenceman practiced fully with the team on Tuesday at PNC Arena but confirmed he wouldn’t be ready for game action right away. However, he is shooting for later in this road trip. The Oilers have stops in Detroit, Pittsburgh and Toronto this week.

“Doing contact. Today was the first time I really did any of that and felt pretty good,” said Schultz. “As long as I feel good tomorrow and keep improving, I’ll be ready to go soon.”

The Oilers are encouraged by the progress Schultz has made as he recovers from a bulging disc in his back.

“Today was a bit more of a practice than a pre-game skate and that’s a good sign for him to be involved in that,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “I haven’t got a post-practice report on him but the fraction I saw, he looked OK. Is he ready to play tomorrow? No, but we’re still hoping on this trip we can activate him and get him involved. Part of it is going to be the confidence that he has in his own body to play and play hard and to execute the way he would any other game.”

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