Last night in Newsday, Arthur Staple reported that winger Kyle Okposo, out since the end of January after having surgery on a detached retina, could be back in the Islanders line-up for Tuesday's game against the New York Rangers provided Okposo was cleared by the team's medical staff.
Looks like Kyle is clear.
Capuano: Kyle Okposo returns to the lineup tonight. Other potential changes to be determined. Halak in goal. #Isles— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) March 10, 2015
Although he had to take time to rest, per the retina specialist's orders, Okposo resumed skating a few weeks ago and remained as close to game shape as he could. He joined the team in Florida last Friday before their game against the Panthers and looked more ready than expected.
From a sage Staple:
But Okposo slowly worked back into off-ice conditioning, then got back on the ice eight days ago and rejoined the team Friday. His level of conditioning surprised the coaches, so much so that he actually could be in the lineup Tuesday night against the Rangers at the Coliseum.
"I felt great. Ever since I stepped on the ice, I haven't had any hesitations,'' he said. "I wasn't really surprised, because your eye should theoretically be stronger than the other one after the surgery. I've been feeling really good on the ice.''
(Note: that article also has Okposo talking about the emergency surgery that came as a shock to everyone on the team.)
Any game against the Rangers is automatically a big one. But with a three-point lead in the Metro division and the regular season winding down, the stakes are even higher on Tuesday night.
Although Okposo's return is a welcome sight, questions remain, specifically where will he play and what's the status of defenseman Nick Leddy, who was injured in Monday's overtime win over Toronto. John Tavares has been arguably the league's best player in recent weeks, pairing well with Anders Lee and Josh Bailey on the Islanders' top line. The line works so well that Okposo's spot back there isn't guaranteed, and he could be slotted anywhere in the line-up to spread the scoring around.
Leddy appears to be a gametime decision. Jack Capuano had no update on his status as of this morning.
Capuano said he currently has "no idea" if Leddy will play. #Isles— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) March 10, 2015
As expected, Jaroslav Halak will be in the goal for the Islanders.