The Toronto Maple Leafs‘ $10.893-million man appears to be nearing a return.
Star winger Mitch Marner returned for a full practice with his club Monday for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain that’s kept him out of the lineup since early November.
The earliest Marner is permitted to return from long-term injured reserve is Wednesday’s game against Colorado, while the team’s original timeline for the winger pinned his potential return at next week.
GM Kyle Dubas said Monday that his star winger should be able to slot back into the gameday lineup in the near future.
“Mitch is a special player,” Dubas said, according to Sportsnet’s Luke Fox, “and we’ll be excited to get him back here hopefully in the coming days for sure.”
Marner got off to a strong start to the 2019-20 campaign before going down with injury, rolling along at a point-per-game clip with four goals and 18 points through 18 games.
After losing the game on Nov. 9 that saw Marner forced out after 7:36 of ice, the Maple Leafs went on to lose five straight games before opting for a coaching change that brought Sheldon Keefe to the helm.
The club’s won four of five since the change behind the bench, taking their record without Marner to 4-6.
With Marner sidelined, his former line underwent a shake-up following Keefe’s arrival, with rookie Ilya Mikheyev skating on centreman John Tavares‘ left side, while winger Zach Hyman was moved to Tavares’ right wing.
Marner skated alongside Mikheyev and Tavares at Monday’s practice.