Anderson skates, but return date still uncertain

Craig Anderson's injury to his hand is not as serious as originally thought.

Craig Anderson has no idea when he’ll be able to comfortably hold his goalie stick and return to practice with the Ottawa Senators.

At least he has been back on the ice with his equipment on, including a modified blocker to protect the baby right finger he cut severely while trying to chop frozen chicken following the Senators 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Feb. 22.

“The time line is wide open right now and all I can do right now is just make sure I can stay in shape and skate with my gear on, so that when I do get a chance to go back out there, I’m physically ready,” said Anderson, sporting a cast over his right hand, while seaking publicly for the first time since the accident. “It’s frustrating when you get injured, it’s unfortunate that a freak injury happened, but I’ve got to stay positive,” he said.

“The guys are playing well and they’ve battled through adversity all year. All I can do is cheer on my teammates.”

The Senators number one goaltender, who sports a 29-19-6 record, a 2.85 goals against average and .913 save percentage, led the NHL in minutes played and saves at the time of the injury. He was reluctant to discuss the details of what exactly happened.

“I really don’t care to talk about the details at all,” he said. “It was a freak accident in the kitchen. We’ll leave it at that. It’s something that obviously you learn from and unfortunately, it was an expensive mistake.”

Once the incident occurred, however, he acted fast.

“I knew it was pretty severe when it happened, but I knew it wasn’t the end of the world. I knew I had an issue. I knew I had to get it taken care of. My main concern was just to get the help I needed right away, to call the right people, get the right people involved right away to make sure the road to recovery happened as soon as possible.”

Anderson acknowledges that he won’t be 100 per cent recovered in the short term, but says that his return will be based on his ability to hold the stick without pain and when there’s little risk of re-injury.

“It’s going to come down to how I feel, there’s no percentage on that, there’s no timeline on that. I’m hoping for the best, hoping for the shortest amount of time,” he said. “The guys are playing great, Robin (Lehner) has played outstanding the past couple of games and given the team the opportunity to win. I’m just one part of the team, whether I’m injured or not, and I can just be the guy with the big pom-poms right now.”

Coach Paul MacLean also refused to speculate on when Anderson could possibly be back. when Anderson could possibly be back.

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