DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski skated Monday with some teammates in another step before he can return to the playoffs from concussion protocol.
However it was still uncertain when he might be able to play again.
Coach Pete DeBoer said it was “a great sign” to see Pavelski skating in a light workout with scratched and inactive Stars players, but that he’s still not available to play. Pavelski got hurt one week earlier when he banged his head hard on the ice after a crushing blow from Minnesota defender Matt Dumba in the opener of the best-of-seven series that is now tied at 2-2.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in Dallas.
“He’s not available yet, but the fact that he’s taking this step, this is the first time back with a group of guys on the ice, that’s important,” DeBoer said.
“There’s all kinds of steps you have to take and see how you react. … The first one’s light exercise and then a little heavier and then people around you and then contact. So he’s doing all the right things.”
The 38-year-old Pavelski, whose 64 playoff goals are the most among U.S.-born players, didn’t travel with the team to Minnesota for Games 3 and 4. But he skated on his own while back at home and called DeBoer while the team was in Minnesota.
“We conversed between games,” DeBoer said. “He’s involved, he’s watching the games.”
AP NHL Playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.