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BLOG: Tippett updates the status of several Oilers

Kailer Yamamoto and Kris Russell are close to returning; several Oilers remain out

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Injuries have plagued almost every team in the National Hockey League and the Oilers are one of them.

Already without the services of Kailer Yamamoto, James Neal, Oscar Klefbom, Joakim Nygard and Kris Russell, the club announced on Friday that newly-acquired defender Mike Green was also placed on the shelf after suffering a sprained MCL against the Vegas Golden Knights, keeping him out of the lineup for the next three to four weeks.

Andreas Athanasiou, another Trade Deadline pickup, left Wednesday's game against the Golden Knights early but skated lightly on Thursday and participated in the Orange & Blue's full practice on Friday. 

Head Coach Dave Tippett provided an injury update from the Oilers Hall of Fame Room, beginning with Yamamoto and Russell, who appear to be the frontrunners to return.

"Yamo went through practice today," Tippett began. "We won't make a decision on him until the morning. (Kris) Russell has been skating hard. We'll revisit him in the morning also."

The bench boss rounded out the rest of the Oilers players, including Athanasiou.

"Neal is not ready. Klefbom is not ready. Nygard, obviously (not ready). And Green is a new one. He had some tests done yesterday and it didn't go our way. He's going to miss some time. (Athanasiou) looks fine and ready to go."

Video: RAW | Dave Tippett 02.28.20

Yamamoto said he's felt progress every day and didn't experience any setbacks during Friday's full-pull practice, even after tumbling to the ice during a drill.

"It's been feeling better every day," Yamamoto, who has nine goals and 21 points in 21 outings this season, said. "It's always tough when you're sitting out games. The guys in here are doing a good job. Hopefully, I can get out soon and keep contributing."

Zack Kassian isn't injured but has also been away for the past seven games due to a suspension. The winger will get back on the ice with his mates Saturday versus the Winnipeg Jets as the Oilers continue their playoff push. 

The re-introduction of Yamamoto and Kassian is a welcomed sight.

"They're both energy guys and both skate really well," Oilers Captain Connor McDavid said. "Kass brings a lot of energy and excitement. And Yamo, he's so good at keeping pucks alive for those two guys (Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins). He's always going out and getting them the puck, which helps them out a lot. 

"We've definitely missed those two and I look forward to having them tomorrow."

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