(HockeySTL)-- The Blues and defenseman Jordan Leopold appear to have caught a break on the injury front.
Leopold, who sustained an injury to his right ankle prior to the Olympic break, returned to practice on Sunday and is likely to avoid a stint on the injured reserve.
Sunday was Leopold’s second day on the ice, but his first in full hockey gear, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The 33-year old is likely to miss a few games with the injury, but it isn’t as severe as was originally believed.
Leopold sustained the injury in the Blues’ last game before the two-week Olympic pause when he was checked into the end boards by Winnipeg defenseman Zach Bogosian.
Following the contest, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock indicated to reporters that Leopold’s injury was a severe one. Leopold was evaluated before the break, but no official announcement was made other than that the defenseman was considered week-to-week with the injury. The Blues re-evaluated Leopold after the break and he was given the okay to skate on his own and with the team.
Leopold missed 26 games earlier this season due to an injured hand ligament. That injury required surgery and sidelined Leopold for nearly two months. Following his return from his hand injury, Leopold posted four points in 11 games. Before the injury, Leopold had two points in 13 games.
While the defenseman isn’t ready to jump back into the lineup, he told reporters on Sunday that he may choose to travel with the team on their upcoming three-game road trip, which includes stops in Vancouver, Anaheim, and Phoenix. Leopold could potentially find his way into the lineup for one or more of those games.
If Leopold accompanies the team on their road trip, the club will have eight defensemen traveling. Ian Cole and Carlo Colaiacovo will be battling for the sixth defensive spot in the games Leopold is unable to participate in. Hitchcock was very fond of Cole’s game leading up to the break, so it’s likely that he has the better chances for getting some ice time. Cole’s last appearance came on Feb. 1, but he was forced out of the lineup when Leopold made his return from his two-month absence. Colaiacovo hasn’t played in a game since Jan. 2.
The Blues resume action on Wednesday in Vancouver. Leopold is not expected to see the ice in that matchup.