Auston Matthews practises, but return to Leafs is anyone's guess

Toronto is 1-2-2 in the five games he's been out since injuring shoulder Feb. 22

March 07, 2018

Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews practised with the team Wednesday for the first time since being hurt Feb. 22. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
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Toronto Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his right shoulder Feb. 22, but when he'll return to game action remains unknown.
Matthews wore a red non-contact jersey and was on ice for about 20 minutes of the Leafs' hour-long practice. The 20-year-old did not take part in line rushes or special-teams drills.
"I don't know what they (the medical staff) will do," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said, via NHL.com. "I just noticed he was wearing red today; we don't have a whole lot of red in our uniform."
Matthews has been skating on his own for a week while the Leafs were on a four-game road trip.
"I think it's good for him mentally instead of just hanging out by yourself," Babcock said. "We were gone for 10 days and these are his buddies, so who do you hang out in Toronto with? I think the priority for him obviously is to do as much as he can each day and then when he's ready or over-ready, we'll get him back in the lineup."
Matthews has 50 points (28 goals, 22 assists) in 53 games this season. He won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie last season with 69 points (40 goals, 29 assists) after the Maple Leafs selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
The shoulder injury is the third major ailment the top-line centre has dealt with this season. He missed four games with an upper-body injury in November and six with a concussion in December.
Toronto is 39-22-7 and third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points. The Leafs are 7-6-2 in the 15 games that Matthews has missed this season, but 1-2-2 in the five games he's been out since Feb. 22.


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