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Weaver Finally Returns

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

Defenseman Mike Weaver has been a model of consistency over the last several years in playing almost every game on the schedule, so when he went down with a lower body injury in Buffalo on Super Bowl Sunday, he didn't think it would take that long to get back. Instead he was sidelined for a month and a half, missing 20 games over that span.

"It was really tough. I don't miss a lot of games," said Weaver after returning to play against Pittsburgh on April 13.

"I remember in Los Angeles I think I was out with a hip flexor for a week or week and a half at most, before that it was back in college days. It was tough."

Returning after such a long time off, Weaver said that the hardest part was getting back into the game mentally.

"Obviously once you get back in shape and everything like that, it's more of a mental game," said Weaver. "You believing that everything is fine. Not letting your mind get in the way of doubting yourself. Sometimes you might get on the ice, go into a battle."

For not playing since Feb. 28, Weaver thought it was a decent first game back.

"Obviously you can't really prepare for in-game battles. I thought I did a lot of work with conditioning and being in the best-case scenario to get back into things," said Weaver who finished with 26 shifts and 22:23 of ice time. "The first couple of shifts I was just kind of getting my legs going. After the first period it usually you just start relaxing, kind of getting into the rhythm of the game. Overall I thought I had a half decent game."

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