If an NHL player misses six games because of an injury, it's not usually considered that big a deal.
But in the case of the Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler, it was noted -- and newsworthy -- when the veteran right-winger was forced to the sidelines for six straight games as a result of a diagnosed concussion after taking an elbow from Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk in an April 5th, 4-3 win over the Senators.
Prior to that injury, the Winnipeg Captain had missed only six games in total during his first nine-plus seasons with the franchise since it relocated from Atlanta.
So Wheeler's return was a topic of discussion following his first full practice with his teammates on Tuesday morning at Bell MTS Place where the Jets will resume a five-game homestand Thursday night against Toronto.
"I feel good today, just leave it at that," said Wheeler when asked for a comparison of how he was feeling a week ago. "Taking it through the stages day-by-day doesn't do any good."
"I'm thankful to be on a team with a staff that allowed me to fully heal."
And Wheeler isn't holding any grudges towards Tkachuk for delivering the elbow that landed the Winnipeg captain in concussion protocol.
"I think things happen in the course of a game. At the time I didn't think much of it. It is what it is," was how Wheeler summed up the incident.
"I think sometimes when you're a bigger guy, sometimes elbows get a little high, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. I think I've probably done something similar, trying to protect the puck in the past."
Wheeler is renowned for his ability to play through pain and negotiate his way to staying in the lineup, as opposed to having to take a night off. But even he said there was little or no debate ahead of last Saturday's 3-0 loss to Edmonton, even though he had been cleared to play.