Erik Karlsson is ready to make a major step in what could be a remarkable comeback from a torn Achilles tendon.

GM Bryan Murray confirmed Wednesday he sat down with the Senators' top defenceman Tuesday at his Scotiabank Place office to discuss Karlsson's progress. Murray said Karlsson could resume practising as early as next week.

While the 22-year-old was scheduled to be out 4-to-6 months after a procedure Feb. 10 to repair a 70% cut from a vicious slice by the skate of Penguins' winger Matt Cooke, Karlsson could be ready to rejoin the club soon.

Karlsson has been skating on his own for the last three weeks and a return for the playoffs hasn't been ruled out.

"We're hoping that we get him back at some point," said Murray Wednesday. "Whether it be in the playoffs, if we get there and we're going along enough, or before that.

"Until (Karlsson) tries to at least go out on the ice with the team in practice, we have no idea of a time frame."

Murray said the two discussed Karlsson resuming practice next week to get a good gauge on where the ankle is at.

"I suggested maybe next week if he feels he's close enough to go out and spend 15 minutes -- the early part of practice -- with the team, that would be a good thing for him and obviously a little jolt of motivation for the group," said Murray.

Murray admitted it would be a surprise if Karlsson does return this season. He has been skating in full equipment, but the injury would have be able to handle the rigours of practice if he really does want to come back.

Not only does Karlsson need to find out if he can skate at the pace needed to play in the playoffs, he has to be able to compete physically and be confident he's not going to re-injure the ankle if he does come back this quickly.

Defencemen Jared Cowen wasn't supposed to be able to return this season either, but he came back and played his first game Tuesday after having hip surgery in October. Is it really realistic to think Karlsson would play this season?

"It's a little bit of a push if that happens," said Murray. "It's like (Cowen). We don't tell anybody to come back and play.