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Landeskog is back skating with Avs, still 'a long ways' away from playing

Gabriel Landeskog Colorado Avalanche Gabriel Landeskog - The Canadian Press

DENVER (AP) — Gabriel Landeskog was back on the ice with his Colorado Avalanche teammates on Thursday, his first time practicing since having cartilage replacement surgery on his right knee, but he's nowhere close to returning to game action.

Landeskog is missing a second consecutive season because of the nagging knee injury, after taking the significant step to have the operation in May.

“He’s still a long ways out,” coach Jared Bednar said. “But to have him on the ice at this point, knowing that there’s still a lot of work to do, I think is a real positive step in the right direction.”

Landeskog has not played since helping Colorado win the Stanley Cup in June 2022. He tried to play last season but kept having setbacks.

“He was going to try and avoid a major surgery like that at all costs,” Bednar said. “(He) made great progress, but it just plateaued at a certain level that wasn’t good enough to be able to come back and play short term or long term, so then the next step was the surgery that he decided to have.”

The Avalanche have left open the possibility of the 31-year-old Swede suiting up for them in the playoffs this spring if he’s cleared to play. Landeskog having a clear rehab plan from the surgery through now has allowed him and the team to think that way.

“I think it’s different because he’s gone through the surgery and he’s gotten prepared,” Bednar said. “I’d say there’s more optimism this time around because it’s been surgically repaired.”