Forward Jesper Fast sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
The winger, who underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip, skated with teammates during informal workouts for the first time on Tuesday and said he's getting closer to 100 percent.
"It's hard," Fast told NYRangers.com when asked how it felt skating with teammates after a summer of rehab that is still ongoing. "This was the first time I was practicing with the team, doing some passing drills. It felt better than I thought it would. We'll see. We'll take it slow, take it step-by-step, and we'll see what happens."
The 25-year-old said he had felt discomfort in his hip for several years, but was able to play through the injury. After last season, though, he felt it was the right time to remedy the injury.
"It's been something that's been bothering me for a while," he said. "Even years ago a little bit, then it starts progressing and bothering me more and more. It was something that I felt had to be done. If I want to play for another 10 years, I think it was a pretty good time to do it now."
After the May surgery, Fast remained in New York to begin the rehab process with personnel in the area. Those few weeks were followed by a trip back home to Sweden where he began to skate and train alone. He arrived back in New York last week.
Now, though, Fast is back with his teammates, and he said even that helps him in his rehabilitation.
"In the beginning, it's a lot of pain," he said. "You're just by yourself doing what you can do. Of course it's a lot more fun meeting the guys and get the excitement going a little bit. That helps to motivate you even more."