Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds joined his teammates for a full practice for the first time in over six weeks on Tuesday. But it's still not clear if one of the team's most vocal leaders will be back in the lineup when the team hosts the Calgary Flames for a pair of back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.
"I honestly can't give you an answer if I'm going to play this weekend," Simmonds said. "It's getting better every day."
Out with a fractured wrist he suffered against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 6, Simmonds had been skating for the last couple of weeks with Skill Development / Return to Play Consultant Denver Manderson and skating consultant Barb Underhill to make sure his conditioning is up to speed.
Simmonds is cautious of returning too early.
"I think when you come back from a wrist injury, you want to be cognizant that you can make every single movement that's required and not jump into it too quick," Simmonds said. "Because if not, I think you're going to leave the team shorthanded."
Simmonds skated on a reshuffled fourth line at practice on Tuesday with Jason Spezza and Pierre Engvall up the middle.
Jimmy Vesey, who had occupied a fourth-line spot for the last month or so, was claimed on waivers by Vancouver Canucks,.
Signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract in October, Simmonds had been a helpful weapon on the team's power play. He has five goals in 12 games this season, three of them coming with the man advantage.
The 32-year-old is also one of a handful of veterans the team brought in this past summer to help change the identity of the team.
Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said last week that there was a different feel in the room without Simmonds around.
"I think the boys have done a good job about being lively," Simmonds added. "I'm one of the guys who likes to speak a lot. I enjoy the interaction with my teammates.