Thomas Vanek was back on the ice with his teammates Thursday afternoon at the Amherst Pepsi Center.
While the Buffalo Sabres winger said he feels a vast improvement from his upper-body injury, Head Coach Lindy Ruff said he is doubtful for Friday’s game against the Islanders.
“I was pleasantly surprised he felt the way he did yesterday, I was even more surprised he was out trying to practice today. That’s all good things,” Ruff said. “But at the same time, after working out, it’s not quite where we need him.
“He was getting through practice pretty good, but to be full-board I think he’s a little bit of a long shot so we’ll weigh that come tomorrow.”
Vanek said he was not hurt after crashing into the endboards following his second goal of the night against Detroit on Tuesday. Rather, it was a product of an unfavorable collision with Red Wings’ forward Brad May about 30 seconds prior to the goal in the second period.
“We were in our endzone breaking out, May came across and I kind of hit him and it just hit me wrong,” Vanek said. “It was one of those fluke things… I took the worst of it.”
Vanek said he hasn’t ruled out playing this weekend, but will make what he feels is the smart choice after conferring with team doctors.
“Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel great, but like I said I’m taking it day-by-day and if it’s not, hopefully Saturday,” he said. “The pain is something I can always deal with, it’s about being smart and not getting any worse.”