Michael Grabner felt a pop in his shoulder during the game in Pittsburgh 10 days ago while just reaching for a puck.
"You get hit or hit guys all game, then it happens when no one's around you, it's weird," Grabner said Tuesday. "But I never felt like it was too bad."
Grabner had his first skate with teammates since the injury Tuesday, getting on the Coliseum ice for the Islanders' morning skate and staying on to do some extra conditioning work. He missed only his third game Tuesday night and both he and Jack Capuano were optimistic Grabner, third on the team with 10 goals, could return by as early as Thursday against the Canadiens.
"[Monday] was my first day on the ice, and then today we did a lot of stick-handling, some shooting and I didn't feel anything bad," Grabner said.
The Senators are already without Erik Karlsson (torn Achilles), Jason Spezza (back surgery) and Craig Anderson (ankle sprain), so another key player going down for a long stretch seems excessive.
But the injury hits kept on coming for Ottawa, which announced that Milan Michalek had knee surgery on Monday and is out for a month. Michalek had missed 14 of the previous 16 games and the Senators decided to go ahead with surgery to see if Michalek could return for the end of the regular season or the beginning of the playoffs.
Plenty of ice time
"Sure," quipped Nabokov. "We have over a hundred years of experience between us."
Islanders GM Garth Snow will try to re-sign all three players, as Newsday reported on Sunday.