For the first time since Jan. 3, Colin Chaulk tried his skate on Saturday night. He was sitting in his living room listening to the Komets play, but this morning the center skated at a practice for the first time since he was diagnosed with MRSA, a severe infection in his left foot. After multiple surgeries and hospital stays, he received a doctor's clearance to skate last Friday.
“I'm not going to take part in full practice,” Chaulk said Monday afternoon. “I'll just screw around by myself and see how my foot reacts. I'll just try to build up each day.”
The best-case scenario is that Chaulk might be able to return to game action in two weeks, but no one is pushing. He can take as long as he needs.
“I think I'm going to leave it up to him,” Sims said. “If comes to me sooner and thinks he's ready, we'll consider that when we see him. I think the team has learned to win without him and that makes it much easier task for him to come back. There's no rush, and when he comes back I'm going to tell him we just expect you to add to what we have going.”
Sims also joked he'd tell Chaulk, a three-time Komets most valuable player, to start on the third line and work his way up the lineup.
Though he has missed 21 games so far, Chaulk is still the team's seventh-leading scorer this season with five goals and 43 points in 28 games.
“All the pressure is coming from within me,” Chaulk said. “The goal is not to do too much right away because we have lots of time. I'd like to be playing Friday, but that's not realistic. Right now I'm just hoping for no more setbacks.”
Chaulk said he started to seriously work out two weeks ago, but said he's comparing this to starting the season over. He feels like he's where he'd be if training camp were starting in a month.
“I'm maybe something like 60 percent,” he said. “I'm excited about it, but I've got a long way to go. I'm trying to treat this like it's a new season, and I'm definitely not ready yet.”