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Lightning Round: Mikhail Sergachev joined team for practice

Dec 16, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) during the face off against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

At practice on Monday, a familiar face joined the team. Bedecked in a red no-contact jersey Mikhail Sergachev skated with his teammates just 60 days after fracturing his fibula and tibia.

Following his session on the ice Sergachev was quick to caution folks about when he would be back, telling reporters,

“I’m still not back, so I can’t really tell how long it’s going to take me to get back, but so far it’s been good.”

The purpose of joining the team on the ice was to give him a sense of where he was in regards to the speed of the game, both on the ice and mentally. After a couple of weeks of skating after practice with trainers and other rehabbing players, this gives Sergachev a checkpoint in how he’s doing in terms of actual hockey play.

By no means is he ready for game action and probably won’t be for quite some time. It took Steven Stamkos roughly four months to overcome his shattered leg and that was with some of the most intensive rehab a player has put himself through. Throughout the ordeal the team has been pretty consistent in stating that Sergachev wouldn’t be back with the team unless they made it pretty deep in the playoffs.

Still, it’s a good sign, and provides a nice boost to the team morale to see one of their top defensemen back with them. It’s also a boost for Sergachev, rehabbing can be a lonely endeavor for a player, especially when the team goes on the road and leaves him behind. Getting on the ice with his teammates can help him soldier through the final stages. As Stamkos said,

“You can kind of see the light at the end of that tunnel. It’s not easy, so it was big to see him out there.”

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