The Toronto Maple Leafs got some very good and very welcomed news on Monday morning.
Although the Maple Leafs have not provided any type of official update on the status or health of star forward Mitch Marner, it now seems to be beyond any doubt that the young Maple Leaf has made serious progress in his recovery from injury. According to a report from Toronto Maple Leafs reporter Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, Marner hit the ice on Monday morning and participated in practice with his teammates just 3 weeks after suffering the injury that ha sidelined him every since.
Marner appeared to be wearing a regular jersey when he was out on the ice which would appear to suggest that he has been cleared to fully participate in practice. The video provided by Siegel shows Marner skating as well as participating in shooting drills with his teammates which is also a sign that the young forward has taken a major step in his injury recovery today. Now to be clear this does not necessarily mean that Marner is going to be returning to the Maple Leafs line up in the immediate future, but it will get the hopes of fans in the city of Toronto way up and for good reason at that.
Marner is obviously a core part of the Maple Leafs offense and was setting a blistering pace this season prior to going down to injury. In spite of the Maple Leafs' early season struggles under former head coach Mike Babcock, Marner was producing at a point per game with 4 goals and 14 assists for a total of 18 points through 18 games played in the 2019 - 2020 National Hockey League regular season. His teammates have turned those struggles around under newly appointed Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe and it will be interesting to see how Keefe impacts Marner's own game moving forward.
Marner suffered a high ankle sprain on November 9th when the Leafs faced off against the Philadelphia Flyers. The injury occurred at the very start of the second period when he tripped over Carsen Twarnyski's stick and the initial prognosis had him out for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Update: Marner's return may in fact be very close according to head coach Sheldon Keefe.
“Based on his performance today, it doesn’t look like he’s too far away,” said Keefe.