Connor McDavid skates with Oilers at practice

Great sign for the Oilers as Connor McDavid joined his teammates for a light practice, and says he's definitely ahead of schedule for a return to game action.

The Edmonton Oilers are starting the new year with some good news: Connor McDavid has joined his team at practice.

The team announced the injured rookie’s participation via Twitter, also noting that Nail Yakupov made his return to practice, too. Yakupov has been out since late November with a sprained ankle.

After practice, McDavid spoke to the media and suggested he could return ahead of schedule.

“I would say definitely ahead of schedule,” McDavid said when asked about his return. “There’s been a timeline that you try and follow and reach each check mark or progression faster than the day they set. I’ve been doing that for a little bit now so I think for sure ahead of schedule.”

Edmonton Oilers on Twitter

Despite the positive progress, McDavid and the team have kept quiet about a specific return date for the 18-year-old centre.

“He’s working hard and smiling most days and that’s a real positive thing,” Oilers head coach Todd McLellan told NHL.com Thursday.

Added McDavid: “It’s going to be a tough come back. It’s never fun coming back from an injury… Coming back in the middle of the year is a little different because everyone is going so well.”

McDavid began skating again in mid-December as he rehabs from a broken clavicle he suffered on Nov. 3.