More details are trickling out as rookie defenceman Jacob Trouba inches closer to a return to the Jets lineup.
The 2012 first-round draft pick has been out since Oct. 18, when he crashed headfirst into the boards and injured his neck.
He has missed 15 games so far.
Monday, after skating with his teammates in the game-day optional workout, Trouba said his injury was actually torn ligaments in his neck.
Previously, the team had said it was a sprained neck and that Trouba would require two weeks in a neck brace before he could be re-evaluated.
"I'm on my way," Trouba said Monday, the injury now into its second month.
He said, however, that he's feeling quite good and it's now a daily question to the Jets' trainers when he can ditch the orange-coloured "no-contact" practice jersey.
"I ask every day. We'll see," Trouba said.
He's been reliving the injury a lot these days, but still chuckles about the crash.
I got lucky. It could have been a lot worse," he said. "(That night) I just felt something wasn't right. It was just off. More scared for a second."
His recovery is moving along, Trouba assured reporters, adding his neck is still a little stiff when he wakes up in the morning.
"The first big hit will be the big test for it," he said.
Central-Division record the pits
Winnipeg's Central Division record has slumped to 3-8-1 in its first season after the NHL's realignment.
This is not a happy story for a team with playoff aspirations.
"Does it worry me at all?" Jets coach Claude Noel said. "Well, it's something you'd like to control better than we're doing. If we're not doing great there, we're going to have to make it up somewhere. If you don't, you've got bigger mountains to climb later."
D-man Stuart closing in on return
Veteran defenceman Mark Stuart sees minutes being gobbled up by others on the Jets' defensive corps, but that's not his motivation to return from his hip injury, he said Monday.
He's been out since crashing into his own goal Oct. 29.
"It's a little selfish to think that way," Stuart said after practising Monday. "Plus it's good to see we're winning games."
Stuart is close to returning to the lineup, maybe as early as later this week.
"I hope so," he said. "I'll talk to the trainers. We'll see what their thinking is. I haven't asked them that. Afraid of what they were going to say.
"It feels good. I've had some good skates. Still haven't gotten a lot of contact in."