Center Mike Richards, who suffered a head injury on Dec. 1 and hasn’t played since then, skated hard with the Kings’ extra players Saturday at Joe Louis Arena before the team's game against the Red Wings.
Richards hasn’t been cleared for contact but he was cleared to skate and try to maintain his physical condition. The key will be how he feels the rest of the day, which will signal whether he can continue to push himself.
Richards said he feels better, but he knows he must be patient.
“It’s still a process,” he said. “I think you can only go on how you feel. There’s never a timeline, which is the frustrating part of it. Whenever you feel ready to play you can play.”
He said he didn’t feel quite right but wasn’t sure if that was an offshoot of the injury.
“It’s hard to distinguish whether it’s taking two weeks off and going out there and skating or if it’s lingering effects but we’re going to take it slow,” he said. “We’re going to skate a couple times and see how I feel after that. I obviously hope to be back sooner than later…
“It’s really hard taking two weeks off from skating. You could ride the bike as many times as you want but it’s not the same as simulating a game or on-ice skating.
"It went pretty good out there. It felt all right. Just a couple of spots where I was a little bit dazed but that could just be not skating for two weeks too. Or jet lag. Or all of the above.”