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Leafs D Liljegren 'close,' Thursday lineup in flux due to flu


Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Timothy Liljegren is "close" to a return from the lower-body injury that has sidelined him since Nov. 2, head coach Sheldon Keefe said Thursday.

Keefe said Liljegren will still need a full practice or two to improve his conditioning before making his return.

The Kristianstad, Sweden native was injured during an awkward tie up with Boston Bruins captain Brad Marchand. He has one assist in 10 games this season while averaging 17:55 of ice time. 

Thursday lineup in flux

While Liljegren will remain out, Keefe was unable to commit to his lineup for Thursday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as the Maple Leafs battle a flu bug.

Winger Matthew Knies missed Tuesday's win over the New York Rangers due to illness and Keefe could not commit on whether he would be back Thursday. 

Noah Gregor moved up from the fourth line to play alongside Auston Matthews and William Nylander against the Rangers, drawing an assist in the 7-3 win.

“He’s taken advantage of every shift he’s had,” Keefe said Thursday of Gregor who first joined the team in training camp on a PTO.