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With Ridley Greig’s Probable Return This Week, Ottawa Senators Are Finally Close to Full Health

MONTREAL, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 27: Ridly Greig #71 of the Ottawa Senators skates during the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on September 27, 2023 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

When Ottawa Senators centre Ridly Greig was injured on November 2nd, he was the points leader among all NHL rookies. That includes the heavily-hyped Connor Bedard, who has since taken a commanding lead in that race.

On Monday, Senators head coach D.J. Smith announced that he’s hopeful Greig is ready to return this week. After returning to full practice last week, Greig skated on a line Monday with Mathieu Joseph and Dominik Kubalik and looks like a good bet to play tomorrow against the New York Rangers.

While most high ankle sprains take 6-8 weeks to fully heal, Greig’s took less than five, so he’s either a quick healer or the injury wasn’t as severe as some. Or maybe it’s both. Regardless, Greig is glad to be back and the Senators are thrilled to add more scoring depth as they try to work their way out of the Atlantic Division basement.

“Ridly plays hard every night,” head coach D.J. Smith said. “He makes it hard on the other team. He gets under at the net. He can make plays in transition. He just gives an element that, to me, we’re missing a little bit.”

When it comes to recovering from high ankle sprains, Greig has plenty of guys to lean on for advice. Drake Batherson had one a couple of years ago and missed two months. Mark Kastelic has a high ankle sprain too, suffered the same night as Greig.

Greig can even draw advice from his father, Mark, who played nine seasons in the National Hockey League for the Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers.

“Yeah, a lot of guys have had (high ankle sprains), especially my Dad,” Greig said after his first practice back last week. “He had one late in his career so I’ve talked to him quite a bit about it. But lots of guys around here know what it feels like. So, there’s lots of knowledge on it.

“On the ice right now it’s been feeling good. I honestly kinda feel it more off the ice than on the ice to be honest with you.”

The Senators will need all hands on deck to get through a packed December of 15 games.Whether they actually have 100% health is up for some debate. If Greig returns, Kastelic is now the only regular Ottawa Senator still out of the lineup at this point. But Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot both missed practice Monday, taking maintenance days, which Tim Stutzle has also done on a number of occasions this season.

To make room for Greig, the Senators sent Matthew Highmore back to Belleville on Sunday.

Ottawa will have its hands full Tuesday night, hosting the New York Rangers at Canadian Tire Centre. At 18-4-1, the Rangers are first overall in the NHL and have twice as many points as the Senators.

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