The Blue Jackets are gearing up for Seth Jones' return.
Having missed the first six games with a knee injury suffered Sept. 25 in preseason action, Jones' absence is certainly felt. The Blue Jackets' defense has done the job without him, but there's no denying he's missed alongside Zach Werenski and also on the power play.
Jones rejoined the Blue Jackets for a full practice on Friday, just shy of four weeks since the injury. He originally had a 4-to-6 week recovery timetable for the MCL sprain, but John Tortorella said Wednesday he would probably be on the "early end" of that.
The Blue Jackets' athletic trainers cleared him for a practice with light contact, Tortorella said, a significant step toward a return to the lineup – but it won't happen tomorrow night against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"He's certainly not playing tomorrow, but for him to come out and practice with us and start thinking about some contact, it's getting close," Tortorella said. "It's encouraging that he's out there and that the trainers have given him the green light to get involved in some contact."
Beyond tomorrow's game, the Blue Jackets may be looking to Tuesday's game against the Arizona Coyotes for Jones to get back in the lineup. Should Jones play in that game, he will have recovered, rehabbed and returned to game action before the four-week window. Thursday in St. Louis would be one month exactly.
We'll see where it goes, but it won't be long now before the Blue Jackets get their best defenseman back in the mix.
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