Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul fired wrists shots, took some backhands and drilled one-timers at the net off passes from strengthening coach Anthony Belza before the team took the ice for their practice Monday.
Lupul, 29, also skated hard and did numerous turning drills with Leafs skating coach Barbara Underhill.
And then Lupul skated for about 30 minutes with the fourth line at practice before leaving the ice. It was the first time that he had been skating with the team since being sidelined with a broken forearm on Jan. 23. He was supposed to miss six weeks, putting his return somewhere around mid-March.
After practice, Lupul said he wouldn’t be flying with the team to Winnipeg and will again be skating on his own on Tuesday at the MasterCard Centre.
“It’s still day to day for me right now,” Lupul said after the practice. “I’m at seven weeks right now. You don’t just jump back into the lineup one day. You have to progress a bit every day.
“Everything felt good but we’ll see how it (forearm) reacts tomorrow (Wednesday). That’s a good indicator. But there are no complaints with the way it felt today (Monday).”
Lupul said he was taking “small steps” every day and didn’t want “rush” things.
“Whether it’s seven weeks or eight weeks we just want to make sure it’s 100 per cent and it’s not going to bother me the rest of the way,” Lupul said. “You always want to play and even with the team winning you still want to be out there. It definitely makes it easier seeing guys stepping in and playing well.”
Lupul suffered the injury in the Leafs 5-2 win in Pittsburgh. He was struck by a slap shot fired by defenceman Dion Phaneuf as he stood in front of the Penguins’ net during a power play.