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Light at the End of the Tunnel for Jeffrey

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Dustin Jeffrey can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Penguins forward is progressing well in his rehabilitation from the knee injury he suffered on March 24 versus Philadelphia that forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

Jeffrey is not yet cleared for contact, meaning he won’t skate in training camp scrimmages. But he will participate to almost full capacity in practices, which is a hugely positive step for the 23-year-old.

“Dustin is cleared for practice but not for contact, which is a pretty positive thing for him right now,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “His last couple of weeks have been good and we’ll see him on the ice.“

“It’s going really well,” Jeffrey said of his rehab. “Obviously we’re a long ways from where we were at the end of last season. … Hopefully sooner rather than later I’ll be out there in a full practice scrimmage.”

While Jeffrey is getting closer to regaining full health, the Penguins coaches and management are adamant that he does not try to rush back before he’s ready to play.

“They’ve been really good with me to just make sure I’m ready and making sure I’m not trying to force the issue by trying to get back too early just to compete on the first day of training camp,” Jeffrey said.

In the meantime, Jeffrey assured that there will not be any hesitation on his end when he hits the ice with his teammates for practices and as he works his way back to full contact.

“I’ve had this injury before so I know what to expect of it,” Jeffrey said. “I think my rehab has gone really well, so I don’t think there’s going to be any confidence issues.

“I think it’s a matter of getting into contact and getting used to it. But confidence issues, no. I think I’m going to be really confident.”

Jeffrey made huge strides last season, seeing the most extensive NHL action of his professional career to date and impressing his Pittsburgh coaches and teammates with his play. But Jeffrey will worry about where he fits in with the parent club later – right now, his only concern is getting back to 100 percent.

“Right now, I’m just worried about trying to get back,” he said. “I spent all summer rehabbing. I think this is the last week, week and a half to really push the rehab part of it. When I’m done with rehab, I’ll start worrying about where I’m going to slot in.”
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