April 9, 2011 2:30 pm

Williams on verge of return?

Is it possible that Justin Williams could return for Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs? It seems so. Terry Murray said Williams will be evaluated tonight and that if all goes well, Williams might only be days away from a return. Williams suffered a dislocated shoulder on March 21, and the initial estimate had him missing at least four weeks, which would have made for a best-case-scenario return date of April 18. Now, it seems as though the return date might be moved up by a few days. The Kings will start their first-round series on either Wednesday (April 13) or Thursday (April 14). According to Murray, if the results of Williams’ strength test are good, the doctors will communicate with Williams about the scenarios for his return. Williams would play with a harness and would still be at risk of re-injury.

MURRAY: “(The conversation would be,) `If you go and play, here’s what the consequences could be.’ As long as you know that going in, and you can deal with it, I think there’s a possibility that he could get himself ready to play.”

Question: Would you want to get him into a couple full-contact practices first?

MURRAY: “I wouldn’t mind leaving that to the game, the contact situations and the compete situations. His skating is starting to come back. There’s been quite a bit of hard skating in the last several days. If that’s in place, then I wouldn’t really want to risk some kind of a drill that might put him in a vulnerable situation. I’d like to see him just go play. He’s a skilled player, can do a lot of good things for us, and it would be important to have him in the lineup.”

Question: So it’s not unreasonable to think he might return for the first game of the playoffs…

MURRAY: “No, absolutely not. His last testing with the doctor, a week ago, was very good, very good. He continues to go through the same process off the ice, with his rehab. All you’re trying to do is re-tighten those muscles, so that it gives you as close to 100-percent strength as possible. Once it gets there, again, there’s always going to be consequence. Even if you’re 100-percent healthy, there’s always a chance that you’re going to get run the wrong way anyway, so that’s the way it is.”

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