In this afternoon's public practice at A-Game Sportsplex, Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber returned to on-ice work with the team as he continues his recovery from a concussion suffered on December 23rd in Dallas. He is participating in drills alongside his teammates, and while we don't know when he'll be ready for game action, this is certainly a positive step.
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Colin Wilson is also out there, but in a non-contact jersey. He has missed the last two games with an unspecified upper-body injury.
Check back later for further updates to this story, following post-practice press availability.
Update: Follow after the jump for quotes and reaction from around the locker room to Shea's return to practice:
It was a special day at A-Game sportsplex in Franklin today. Predators fans from Williamson County and other areas south of Nashville got to come out and watch the Preds practice as well as get autographs afterwards.
But fans were treated to an extra surprise today when defenseman Shea Weber took the ice for practice - the first time Weber has skated with the team since he left the team's morning skate on December 26th.
Weber wore a regular blue practice jersey like his defensive partner Ryan Suter, indicating that he was indeed cleared for some sort of contact.
"It was good," center Mike Fisher said about Weber's return to practice. "He seemed to be moving pretty well out there. He looked good. It's a great sign for sure."
"Whenever you lose a guy like that, and then he comes back, it's definitely a positive thing," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "Hopefully we can continue to produce like we did before."
But the exact date on Weber's return to game action is still up in the air. Head coach Barry Trotz said that even though Weber felt good at practice today, there was still no timetable for his return.
"It's when he feels comfortable," Trotz said. "When he feels that he's ready to go, he'll come and let us know. Between the doctors, the trainers, Shea, they'll make that decision."
Weber's return to practice was a good sign for a blueline that has relied heavily on as many as three rookie defensemen in recent games.
Throughout practice, Weber looked relieved to be back on the ice. He was smiling and joking with his teammates, as well as giving fans in attendance something to cheer about.
"I know the fans had some fun," Trotz said. "I was sort of chuckling. There were some kids behind the net, and when he teed up a couple and he missed the net, they came right at [the kids] and they were all hootin' and hollering."
The team did not make Weber available to the media after practice.