Jason Spezza's knee appears to be healing well, and the Senators forward could return sooner than expected, the Ottawa Sun reported Monday.
Spezza has been out since tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during a game in Toronto on Dec. 14. Ottawa figured he wouldn't be back until, at best, just before the Olympic break in mid-February.
But after Spezza practised unexpectedly with his teammates on Sunday, coach Cory Clouston said the Senators are entertaining the possibility of an earlier return.
"We were hoping for a couple of weeks before [the Olympics]," Clouston was quoted as saying by the Ottawa Sun. "I think we might be a week or two in advance of that, judging by what went on [Sunday]."
Spezza, who before getting hurt was off to a slow start with 19 points (five goals) in 30 games, wasn't ready to make a prediction about when he'll play.
"[Sunday] was kind of just a [day to] push it a little bit, see if it pushes back, or see how it feels," he said. "I didn't really plan on staying out there, but it felt pretty good, so I'd say it's a positive."