Anton Stralman, J.T. Brown join full team skate
The Lightning got some encouraging news on the injury front Thursday, as defenseman Anton Stralman and wing J.T. Brown took part in their first full team practices since getting hurt.
Stralman did some drills with long-time partner Victor Hedman. J.T. Brown participated in rushes on the fourth line with Vladislav Namestnikov and Erik Condra.
It was like old times.
But coach Jon Cooper warned everyone not to read too much into the progress, that both players are still out indefinitely.
"I will just set the record straight now, all injured players are indefinite," Cooper said. "Don't read anything into the jerseys, don't read anything into anything until you see them at the game. It's unfair to the players. When theyr'e in, we'll let you know when they're going to be in. No use in putting timelines on guys. They usually turn out to be wrong anyway. It's all specuation."
Stralman, out seven weeks with a fractured left leg, had been skating on his own, or in optional morning skates. But Stralman called this the "next step" in his rehab, needing to take another one (contact drills) before returning. He said it's "hard to say" when he'll be back.
"It's not perfect, otherwise I'd be playing," Stralman said. "Sure there's obviously limitations, but hopefully we're just going to keep progressing and I'll be ready when I'm ready."
Brown, out since suffering an upper body injury in Game 2 of the first-round, had just begun to practice with a full stick last week. Brown appears closer than Stralman, seeming encouraged how he's progressed, though wouldn't put a timeline on his return.
"It's getting there," Brown said. "At the end of the day, I'm doing a lot of things I'd normally do in practice without any limitations. Just trying to make strides."
Captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot) continued to practice in a red non-contact jersey, and is still on blood thinners. He said everything is status quo, no doctor appointment set to find out when he can get off the medication and resume playing. "I feel like I can play," he said.
The Lightning open the Eastern Conference Final Friday at 8 pm in Pittsburgh. Stralman and Brown's status for that game is uncertain, but they're getting closer.