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Injury Report: Matthews practices, but will not play Saturday

The Leafs’ superstar centre is being cautious with his latest shoulder injury.

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According to a report from TSN analyst and Toronto Maple Leafs insider Mark Masters, Leafs superstar Auston Matthews joined his teammates for practice yesterday, donning a red “no contact” jersey for drills:

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As Masters notes, todaymarks two weeks since Matthews went down with a shoulder surgery and he’s been rehabbing and testing the shoulder nearly every day since then. Officially Matthews is out “day to day” with an upper body injury, but Leafs head coach Mike Babcock admitted that the term “day to day” can mean just about anything. One day, ten days… they’re all “day to day” for the team’s coaching and management staff.

So, what could this mean for Matthews’ return? It’s too early to tell yet, but the team does have a four day break ahead of Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, so it’s not inconceivable to imagine him making his return for that game. 

“I don’t know what they (medical staff) will do. I just noticed he was wearing red today and we don’t have a whole lot of red in our uniforms,” the Leafs head coach when asking whether or not Matthews will play on Saturday night.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Matthews, Babcock still feels that yesterday’s developments are positive. “Well, I think it’s good for him, right,” Babcock said. “Just mentally, instead of hanging out by yourself. We were gone for 10 days and these are his buddies, so who do you hang out with in Toronto?”

Fair enough… but you’ll excuse Leafs fans if they’re not too worried about who Matthews is hanging out with after games. We’re more concerned with wins and losses and the Leafs are in the middle of a bad stretch right now. The team needs Matthews back ASAP, but with a tough playoff series on the horizon likely against the Boston Bruins, it’s understandable why the team has been taking things so cautiously with Matthews. Better to get him at 100% a week or two from now than at 75% right now.