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Adam Erne closer to a return with the Syracuse Crunch

After breaking his hand early in the season, Adam Erne getting close to returning for the Syracuse Crunch.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Dan D'Uva, broadcaster for the Syracuse Crunch, tweeted that Adam Erne was practicing today with a regular jersey on signaling his ability to take contact in practice.

Erne broke his hand only four games into the season after having only registered one assist after four games played during his first full professional season. The original prognosis on return was four to six weeks. Friday will mark six weeks since the injury occurred so it has taken a bit longer for the hand to heal.

With top scorers Jonathan Marchessault and Joel Vermin spending an extended amount of time in Tampa, the Crunch have struggled at times to score. The scoring issues have been exacerbated by the shuttling back and forth of Mike Blunden and the inability of Yanni Gourde to get back on track after his best pro season for the Crunch last season. Erne being out hasn't helped either as he was expected to be a top line winger bringing offense on a nightly basis. The Crunch currently rank 25th in the AHL in team scoring. However, they remain in 4th in their division with a 9-6-2-1 record due to being tied for 7th in goals-against.

Crunch fans will be hoping that Erne's improving health, as well as a healing Tampa Bay forward corps, will help the Crunch get back on track as they look to be a contender for the playoffs this year. With how well Gudlevskis and Wilcox have played in net, along with a solid defense, adding some much needed skill to the lineup can inject some life into the team's playoff aspirations.