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Kirby Dach said his return to practicing with the Chicago Blackhawks this week has been “a long time coming,” but he plans to be patient with his recovery from right wrist surgery in January.
Dach is traveling with the team for its six-game road trip, and he practiced with the taxi squad Wednesday in Dallas.
“A little bit ahead of schedule — I think that’s a good thing — but at the same time we’ve got to be smart about it because we don’t want this issue for the long term,” Dach said. “Kind of deal with it now and hopefully we can move on and I’m 100% for the rest of the career — knock on wood.
“But I feel good. I don’t think there’s anything that really bothers it now, it’s more so getting my timing back and being ready to play.”
The second-year center said it was just good to be on the ice with teammates, though medical staff has limited what he’s allowed to do.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Dach said. “Obviously I’ve been doing my own thing for a little bit so to be around the group, be around the camaraderie with the guys, it’s nice to have that bit of it back.
“But at the same time I know there’s still a long road ahead.”
Dach broke his right wrist trying to check Russia’s Ilya Safonov on Dec. 23 while playing for Canada in the IIHF World Junior tournament. After surgery, the Hawks placed Dach on long-term injured reserve Jan. 14.
In the months that followed, he rehabbed with medical staff but was still around teammates. Dach participated in an optional morning skate Monday at Fifth Third Arena before traveling with the team to Dallas.
“There’s some movements and things like that in terms of mobility and strength that are kind of restricted,” Dach said. “But the medical staff and the doctors are doing a good job of monitoring that and making sure we’re taking all the right steps to get me back to 100 percent.”
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