I must admit, I did a double take when I saw Wayne Simmonds come out of the locker room this morning. I thought maybe he would skate at some point, on his own, but I don’t think anyone expected to see Simmonds participating in full practice drills one week after his knee procedure. As far as Terry Murray is concerned, Simmonds is back. Here’s what Murray said after practice.

MURRAY: “I’m very pleasantly surprised, first of all, that he’s there. I guess I kind of expected that he would get out there and dig in and push right through the whole practice. It kind of surprised me, but he said he felt good. A little bit winded, because of being off so many days, but there’s no issue with the knee. He feels fine, and after a couple more days of hard skating he should be ready to go.”

And here’s the post-practice interview with Simmonds…

Question: How did things go with the surgery?
SIMMONDS: “They didn’t have to repair anything. They just cut the piece off that was torn. I guess I’ve been playing without it intact for a while, so it didn’t do much.”

Question: Were you on the ice at all last week, when the team was in Canada?
SIMMONDS: “No. This was the first time I skated since two Fridays ago, so cardio-wise, I think I’ve got some work to do, but it feels good.”

Question: How does the knee feel?
SIMMONDS: “It doesn’t really hurt. Like I said, it’s been like that for a while. It just took the slightest thing to make it react. It’s only a matter of time.”

Question: Were you concerned, when you first knew that you would have surgery, that it might take longer to come back?
SIMMONDS: “Oh, definitely. You never know what’s going to happen, but you just try to be optimistic, and this was the best-case situation. I’ve missed four games so far, and we still have a little ways to go until the 26th and our next game, so hopefully I can be back.”

Question: Are you expecting to be back Saturday?
SIMMONDS: “I’m not too sure. They haven’t really said anything to me. I’ll just continue doing rehab and skating and we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.”

Question: Have you figured out what exactly happened?
SIMMONDS: “It happened to me when I played in Owen Sound, in junior. Right before a playoff game, I was sitting there stretching, and my leg was kind of lateral and I put pressure on it, to get up, and it just locked right away. Fortunately, that time it popped right back out. This time, it didn’t pop out the whole weekend, and it just popped out a couple hours before surgery, actually. So I might as well get it done sooner rather than later. It’s better to have it happen now than the playoff push.”

Question: So they just cut some cartilage, that’s all they did?
SIMMONDS: “Yeah. A piece of my meniscus was just hanging there, dangling, so it’s better to get in there and clean it up.”

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