BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Tage Thompson is returning to the Sabres' lineup well ahead of initial projections and is set to play in Buffalo's home game Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.
The top-line center said after the morning skate he's ready to return, and coach Don Granato confirmed Thompson has been cleared to play.
“(Thompson) felt his conditioning is in a really good place,” Granato said. “He wanted to feel a little battle this morning, and he knows his body well. He knows what it takes to perform and wanted this morning to confirm it, and that’s great news.”
Thompson, who led the team in scoring the past two seasons, was projected to miss 4-6 weeks after blocking a shot with his left arm in a 5-2 loss to Boston on Nov. 14. Thompson missed just nine games over the past three weeks.
The 26-year-old rejoins the Sabres at a time they could use a boost, having lost three straight and four of five to slip into seventh place in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference.
“Obviously, ahead of schedule, but it feels good,” Thompson said. “There’s been no issues, and obviously I got it cleared medically, so, I mean, it’s kind of just up to me now.”
Thompson’s return coincides with the loss of forward Alex Tuch, who is expected to miss seven to 10 days after a lower-body injury in the 2-1 loss to Nashville on Sunday.
The Sabres will also be without goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on Tuesday because of an illness. Granato said Eric Comrie would start against Detroit and Devon Levi will be recalled from AHL Rochester.
For Detroit, newly signed veteran forward Patrick Kane won't be making his debut against his hometown Sabres. Kane, who has been out since having hip surgery in June, is eyeing to play later this week when the Red Wings return home to play San Jose on Thursday and Ottawa on Saturday.
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