The Toronto Maple Leafs finally started to get some good news on goalie James Reimer on Friday, as he was back on the ice for an optional practice and taking shots from goalie coach Francois Allaire.
Reimer hasn't played since suffering a head injury four weeks ago and hasn't practised since Oct. 26 in New York. He experienced a setback after that session, but coach Ron Wilson said the goalie felt fine after spending some limited time on the ice.
"He's feeling better," Wilson said when asked why Reimer was back at practice. "He'll do a little bit tomorrow and then we'll go from there. He said he felt fine, but he only went out there for 15 minutes.
"This is going to be a process that's going to take a little bit of time to get him ready. He hasn't really done anything in a month so he's fallen probably a little off on his conditioning. This isn't like he's going to practice tomorrow and play on Sunday. He won't be playing for another week to 10 days if everything goes smoothly."
Elsewhere on the roster, the news is fairly grim. The Leafs will be missing up to seven regulars on Saturday against the Washington Capitals, with Reimer, Mikhail Grabovski, Clarke MacArthur, Colby Armstrong, Mike Komisarek, Matt Lombardi and Mike Brown all injured.
Of those, Wilson said only Brown may be able to play this weekend.
While the team isn't revealing the nature of any of the injuries, it was revealed Friday Komisarek and Lombardi would both miss a minimum of three weeks after suffering injuries in a 4-1 loss in Nashville on Thursday. Komisarek took a puck off his wrist, and Lombardi hurt his arm or shoulder while taking a faceoff.
Grabovski's out at least two weeks after being injured in Tuesday's game, MacArthur is day-to-day (next game could be Tuesday in Tampa) and Armstrong will miss another two to four weeks with a high ankle sprain.
The Leafs will be calling up a player or two from the minors in time for Saturday's game, although Wilson noted the Marlies are banged up as well and their options might be limited. The organization is leery of promoting youngster Joe Colborne when he's missed almost two weeks with an injury.
Darryl Boyce, meanwhile, is another potential recall who is battling injury and may not be ready for Saturday. Nazem Kadri is another option.
"We've got some guys playing their first game in some time," Wilson said of the Marlies game in Rochester on Friday. "And then we'll make a decision tonight or tomorrow in terms of what we're going to do with our lineup.
"Everybody says 'bring this guy up' and he hasn't played in two weeks. We'll see how tonight goes; hopefully first they win and second they don't suffer any injuries and we can bring some people up. One or two or whatever we need."