New linemates have a huge road trip
Erik Gustafsson sprained his knee Dec. 21 against Columbus. (USA Today Images)
Erik Gustafsson has been skating on his own recently as part of his rehab for a sprained left knee.
On Monday, the Flyers’ 25-year-old defenseman rejoined teammates for the first time for a full practice session at Skate Zone.
There’s a slight possibility he could be cleared to return for Sunday’s game in New York against the Rangers.
Gustafsson was injured Dec. 21 during a 6-3 loss in Columbus. He has been out exactly two weeks, which was the initial time frame for his recovery.
“This was the first time [practice] I really put something into it,” Gustafsson said. “I felt pretty good. As practice went on, I felt better and better. It warms up the ligament a bit. I get more of a push at the end.”
That said, he feels he is still perhaps 15 percent under where he needs to be. General manager Paul Holmgren said over the weekend Gustafsson might need another seven days of rehab.
“I think that’s pretty accurate,” Gustafsson said. “I haven’t really followed the schedule. I take it day by day, honestly. The last two days, I’ve taken huge steps.”
Gustafsson was moving very well on the ice and with speed, working with Hal Gill, who has been a healthy scratch 26 of the Flyers’ last 27 games.
“I felt a little tweak here and there, but as practice went on and it warmed it up, it feels better and better,” Gustafsson said of his knee. “There’s still a little weakness and instability, but overall, pretty good.”
He had been playing well for five straight games with Nick Grossmann, collecting a goal and an assist, before being involved in a blind collision from behind with Columbus’ Corey Tropp.
“I thought I got it going a little bit so it was an ill-timed injury,” Gustafsson said. “I feel confident I will pick up where I left off.”
Matt Read (upper body) did not skate. A review of his last shift on the ice against Calgary shows two rather innocent checks against Read. A guess for the cause of his injury? A shoulder pinned up against the boards, but nothing that stands out on video.