Golden Knights’ Mark Stone cleared to practise in non-contact jersey

Watch as Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone hits the ice for the first time since the injury, and head coach Bruce Cassidy makes a comment on his return.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone has been cleared to practise after suffering a lacerated spleen on Feb. 20, the team announced Friday.

The Golden Knights also said the captain would be participating in Friday’s morning skate in a non-contact jersey.

“It’s good to see him out there. He’s in a red jersey, that means he’s progressing from what his return-to-play would be,” head coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters following practice. “Obviously, he’s got to get clearance from his injury and we’ll see how it plays out down the road, but it’s nice to have him back out there, just to see him back with the group.

“There’s doubt with that kind of injury, you don’t know when he’s coming back. There’s scans and all these things he has to go through for an internal injury and you just don’t know what’s going on there.”

Cassidy reiterated that neither himself nor the team knows exactly when Stone will be ready to participate in game action.

Stone, 31, was initially considered week-to-week after a hit from the Nashville Predators’ Yakov Trenin caused the lacerated spleen, but was moved to LTIR shortly thereafter.

The move caused criticism from the hockey world regarding the Golden Knights’ LTIR usage and whether it borders on cap circumvention. General manager Kelly McCrimmon defended their use of LTIR, calling the notion that the team overstates the significance of injuries “ridiculous.”

In 56 games this season, Stone has 16 goals and 37 assists for 53 points. The Golden Knights sit in the West’s second wild-card spot.

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