Vinny Lecavalier (lower body) and Scott Hartnell (upper body) each returned to practice on Sunday. (AP)
VOORHEES, N.J. -- Veteran centerman Vinny Lecavalier remains “hopeful” he can play Thursday against the New York Rangers while left winger Scott Hartnell remains doubtful.
Both players skated for the first time Sunday since being injured during the Flyers’ 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Oct. 11.
“It felt pretty good for the first day,” Lecavalier said at Skate Zone. “You wake up and see how it feels the next day. If it’s tight or whatever can happen.”
Said Hartnell: “Not bad. I have to be a little careful what I can do out there. It’s amazing how fast you can get out of shape. It’s been just over a week for me and I was really sucking wind out there.”
Lecavalier (lower body/likely groin or abdominal pull) was due back in a week and it will be two weeks by the time he returns.
He got tangled up with Antoine Vermette behind the net and said something “felt weird inside” him.
Hartnell (upper body/likely rib cage) was to require two to four weeks rehab and remains on schedule. He made an awkward movement on the ice against Phoenix and felt a “stabbing pain.”
Hartnell is still having trouble turning side-to-side and said he had some “ginger” moments on the ice today.
Asked about wearing protection up top, he said, “I don’t know. We’ll see how I feel in practices.
“Once I start battling and see how everything feels. Hopefully, I can get back in the lineup soon. that’s my main focus. … My first time skating. I’m not anywhere near 100 percent.”
Lecavalier, however, seems confident he will play and is past his target date.
“Hopefully, I will play on Thursday,” he said. “I just got to be careful. … I gotta make sure everything is good and strong enough to make sure I can play. It’s looking really good right now.
“You want to come back as fast as you can but at the same time, you want to look at the big picture and make sure you come back healthy. It’s a really long season. There’s a fine line.
“You want to come back quickly as possible but if you come back too early, and it gets worse, you’re not really helping the team.”