Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Sabre forward Nathan Gerbe felt good after Wednesday's practice and hopes to return to the line-up in time for Thursday night's game in Carolina. He has not yet been cleared by doctors to play. Gerbe is recovering from a back injury. Ville Leino is not quite ready to go and will be kept off of the ice for a couple of days. If they want to play Gerbe, they can activate him and put Leino on injured reserve.
Gerbe is of course anxious to get back. He said, "Felt like the last three months I've been skating, so the mindset hasn't changed. I'm gonna work hard and get better, that's been my mindset since day one of therapy. I hope I'm playing."
Things have not been easy for Gerbe getting over the procedure done on his back, "It’s more frustrating me experiencing it all year. I’m never going to use that as an excuse, it’s part of the game. I’m sure everybody’s playing with a lot of injuries that no one knows about, so for me I have to get back to my game, go out there and be physical and hopefully offensively help the team.”
It’s been a very, very, very long recovery for me, I’ve been out since basically April and this is my first game, lockout or no lockout. This is about the time I would’ve been back anyways.”
Coach Lindy Ruff said that Gerbe is getting closer, "Yeah, we got him through today, on a regular line, I guess we'll see where he's at (Thursday) but, obviously, he's taken a step closer to playing."
Gerbe practiced with rookie Mikhail Grigorenko and Steve Ott. Gerbe liked the first impression he got of the 18 year old rookie, “He’s a good player, high skilled so for me I have to use my speed and use my quickness, get in on the forecheck and get my chances and try to create some opportunities for him.”
The Sabres have back-to-back games with Carolina Thursday and Friday. Coach Lindy Ruff said that goalie Jhonas Enroth will play in one of them. The head coach added, “I think it’s important to get him going. We’ve got five games in less than eight days so we need to get him in there. At the same time we need to get him in there and at the same time we need to keep his mind fresh. I thought he looked great the whole week of camp and the longer you wait, I think it’s tougher on him so the sooner we get it in, the better.”