THE optimism usually bubbles up when an injured player returns to practice but in the case of Winnipeg Jets right-winger Eric Fehr, more patience will be required.
Fehr showed up on the ice Friday with his teammates at the MTS Iceplex, though he was in the red sweater as a warning that he's not yet ready for contact.
"I've got nothing for you," Fehr, the Winkler product, said with a grin when interviewed after the optional skate. "I'm just taking it day to day, hoping to get cleared for contact within the next couple of months, couple of weeks, whatever it takes."
Jets coach Claude Noel indicated that could be two more weeks, maybe longer. Then it would be about 10 days from there before Fehr's first game of the NHL season will be a consideration.
Fehr, acquired from the Washington Capitals this summer after scoring 10 goals in 52 games, had shoulder surgery in the off-season and was expected to miss several weeks coming out of training camp.
"Everything's just slow right now," he said of his progress. "Obviously I'm not cleared for contact. I just wanted to get an opportunity to play with the guys in practice and see where I measure up right now.
"I'm used to skating with nobody on the ice, so that's a little different. I'll still skate on my own but this was to break up the monotony, shoot a couple of pucks on a goalie for a change."