Joffrey Lupul was back on the ice for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday and was quick to reassure everyone he is just fine, even if he only took part in the first half of head coach Randy Carlyle's lengthy practice.
The veteran winger was a no-show last week for the first practice of training camp after he was hit by back spasms. Since Lupul spent a long time recovering from two operations in December 2009 to repair a herniated disc, among other injuries in his star-crossed NHL career, this set off alarm bells.
However, Lupul said he is feeling good and will probably make an appearance in at least one of the Leafs' next two preseason games, either Thursday in Ottawa or Saturday in Buffalo.
"It's not the way I wanted to start camp but I'm okay now," the left winger said. "We're taking it slow.
"I put in a lot of work the week before I was [in Toronto for camp]. There was some tightness [in the back] and I decided to push on through. It probably wasn't the right idea the week before camp. There was a bit of concern because I have a history with the low back. Everything feels fine. There's plenty of time to opening day so I feel confident."
Carlyle said there was nothing to read into Lupul leaving practice early other than the usual extra caution with injuries in the preseason.
"No, he has a schedule," the coach said. "He would skate for the first half hour, then if he was able to he would skate for the second half hour, then we would pull him off [for the last segment of practice]."
Carlyle said right winger Colton Orr, who has also been injured since the first practice of camp, will begin skating Thursday or Friday and may join the team for its weekend games. He has been out with a bone bruise.
The Leafs made a couple more cuts on Wednesday, sending forward Tyler Biggs and defenceman Jesse Blacker to their Toronto Marlies farm team.