Two Close to Returning
Tuesday, 12.06.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
Miller, who has been sidelined for five weeks with a broken thumb, is on schedule with the four to six week timeline provided by team doctors and could see action as early as Minnesota this Sunday.
"He's now in full practices and we're evaluating him day-to-day," said Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff. "But I would be hopeful that he would be ready for game action by the weekend."
"It's got some aches, but overall, it feels pretty good on the ice," said Miller of his injured thumb. "It just feels good to get my timing back and face some shots at a high pace."
Team doctors had Miller use Tuesday as an experiment to test the injury and will again X-Ray the thumb on Thursday night. The results of that examination will determine the progress of Miller's recovery and a return date.
Although cleared for full contact, Miller hasn't regained full strength in the appendage and still experiences discomfort in certain situations.
"It puts a lot more pressure on my wrist area to compensate and that's really something that I don't want," said Miller. "I want to just make sure that I rehab it the right way and get it back to being comfortable enough that I'm not thinking about it all the time."
With his possible return so close at hand, Miller is approaching each day as his last in the stands.
"I've been treating most days as game days," stated Miller. "I do most of my workouts in the evenings to get used to physical activity past six or seven o'clock. I'm starting to prepare, even if I'm not playing, like I would if I was playing."
In 10 games this season, Miller has posted a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage.
According to Ruff, Briere's condition is progressing, but the center has been limited to mostly conditioning work with no contact during practice.
"Today is probably the most he's done since being injured," said Ruff. "He felt good, but got a little weak at the end."
The morning after has been the most telling factor of Briere's ailment. He usually experiences discomfort on the day following a workout but not during.
"We're hopeful that he feels good in the morning and he can progress to maybe a full practice, possible tomorrow, but later in the week probably."
Briere has missed seven games due to the mysterious abdominal strain. In 21 games this season, he recorded 12 goals and added eight assists for 20 points.
JP Dumont's season is reportedly being shortened considerably this Thursday. The veteran winger will undergo surgery for his abdominal injury and is expected to be out of the lineup two to three months.
Dumont is likely to return following the two-week break for the Winter Olympics in late February.
If defenseman Dmitri Kalinin is looking for a positive this season to work off, he needn't look any further than his performance against the Avalanche on Sunday night. Returning to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for three of five previous games, Kalinin played with the type of desperation Ruff is looking for.
"If you look at (Jochen Hecht's) short-handed goal, it was Dmitri that made the play by jumping up ice and beating two Colorado players to the net," said Ruff. "I thought it was a big step in the right direction for him.
"He was involved physically in the game, skated better and if he can take a step forward from there, we're on the right track."