VOORHEES TOWNSHIP — Danny Briere could be close to returning, but it likely won’t happen this weekend.
The veteran center returned to practice with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday for the first time since suffering a hairline fracture in his left wrist while playing professionally in Germany during the NHL lockout.
Briere wore a yellow jersey — actually, he said it was “golden” — to designate him as a noncontact player, and he did not participate in every drill.
He said that shooting and passing the puck were difficult but that he had no problem stickhandling, receiving passes and deflecting shots.
“How close am I? I don’t know yet,” Briere said. “But … it was nice to get on the ice. It was nice to skate with the team for a few drills.
“Obviously I wasn’t able to shoot the puck very hard yet. I wasn’t even supposed to shoot the puck, doctor’s order, so please don’t show any clips of that. But it was nice to get on the ice.”
Briere said he’s ahead of schedule for this type of injury. He said he did not have the wrist in a cast, and that team trainer Jim McCrossin has told him the wrist should feel better every day.
Still, Briere said not to expect to see him on the ice for the first two games of the season, Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sunday at the Buffalo Sabres.
“It would be stretching it a little bit,” he said. “You never know what can happen, but at this point, no, I don’t think I will be playing this weekend.”
Briere said the injury happened about two weeks ago. He had his arm out after passing the puck from against the boards, and when an opponent checked him, the wrist jammed.
Briere said he still hopes his time in Germany proves beneficial. Despite a strong playoff showing last season, he slumped badly in the regular season, scoring just 16 goals. He hopes to be close to midseason form when he returns from the wrist injury.
“My goal was definitely to have a more consistent regular season,” Briere said.
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