Kyle Okposo, who suffered a concussion Sept. 17 after a brutal blind-side hit from Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, began skating on his own Friday at the Islanders' practice facility in Syosset.
Okposo passed neurological tests Tuesday and did not show symptoms after off-ice workouts Wednesday and Thursday.
"I'm doing well. It felt good to be out there again,'' Okposo said when reached by telephone Friday. "I felt good, had no problems and will try to ramp it up again [Saturday] and see where to go from there.''
Okposo said he's fairly confident he'll be ready to go by the home opener next Saturday. "We're gonna make sure it's 100 percent before I come back, but I'm pretty optimistic about that," he said.
Given the harrowing scene in the aftermath of Phaneuf's hit - Okposo lay motionless for more than six minutes before being carted off the ice on a stretcher - Okposo's recovery has to be encouraging. Okposo, who had 18 goals and 21 assists in 65 games for the Islanders last season, is expected to play an instrumental role in the development of the core group of young players on this Islanders team during the rebuilding.
Okposo, who had never suffered a concussion before, said he will treat this injury cautiously. "I'm going to wait until I'm absolutely 100 percent ready until I come back," Okposo said. "I'm not gonna force anything in case - God forbid - this were to happen a second time."