The good news surrounding Sam Gagner is that he’s back skating with the Edmonton Oilers and a return to the lineup could be ahead of schedule. An exact date has yet to be announced but on Friday Gagner spoke to the media and indicated that when in fact he does return, he will be playing with a full face shield.
Gene Principe of Sportsnet tweeted the following pic of Gagner at the Oilers practice in Leduc that was open to the public Friday morning.
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) October 4, 2013
Gagner added that he’ll wear the full shield until the Olympic break in February, more of a precaution according to the Oilers official website.
He admits that the pain is tolerable but the most important thing is to protect his jaw from contact, something that could lead to a re-break with the metal plate inserted during surgery.
Gagner told Marc Ciampa that the injury typically takes three to four months to fully heal but players will wear the protective shield so they can return to the game rather than waiting the full recovery time.
Ciampa wrote that Gagner had lost around ten pounds since the injury but he’s managed to put most of it back on.
With the news that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will return to the Oilers lineup on Monday, the rush to bring Gagner back to the fold isn’t so pressing. Once he is medically cleared to play the Oilers will have a completely different look to their forward lines with a renewed bought of confidence up the middle.