January 9, 2014
TORONTO– Defenceman Stuart Percy is expected to return to lineup this Saturday for the Marlies.
Forward Josh Leivo, however, is not.
Percy skated Thursday for the second straight day in a regular Marlies practice jersey and coach Gord Dineen confirmed he is ready to get back into game action.
He missed the past six games with a concussion.
“Stu’s ready to go and we’re excited to get him out,” said Marlies coach Gord Dineen. “He should be a big help.”
The 21-year-old blue liner was injured Dec. 21 in a game against Milwaukee. Early in the first period he was hit by Admirals forward Michael Liambis head first into the boards and did not return.
Dineen originally confirmed post-game that Percy had left the contest because of a head injury and recently said that the Toronto native was waiting on medical clearance before rejoining the AHL club.
The return of Percy puts the Marlies at nine healthy defenceman. Prior to injury he was paired with Brendan Mikkelson.
Leivo skated Thursday in a non-contact jersey and took part in most team drills, however he is still in need of more time before he can return to the lineup.
“He’s progressing, but we won’t have him this weekend,” said Dineen.
The 21-year-old has missed the past 11 games after suffering an upper-body injury against the Utica Comets on Dec. 12.
An MRI was done at the time of Leivo’s injury and the timeline for a return was estimated at four weeks.
Prior to injury he was playing the left side on the second line alongside centre Sam Carrick and right winger Spencer Abbott.
Leivo isn’t the only Marlies forward who will miss more time with injuries.
Forwards Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren are sidelined with undisclosed injuries.
McLaren has missed the past 22 games and won’t travel to Texas Friday while Orr missed practice with varying concerns.
Orr dressed last Friday against the San Antonio Rampage after missing 10 games and was back out of the lineup the following day.
“Hes nursing some aches and pains,” said Dineen. “It’s a few different things. Not just injuries but illness too.”
Goaltender Garret Sparks took part in drills with goalie coach Piero Greco on Thursday but missed practice and is still listed day-to-day with an undisclosed injury that occurred against the Adirondack Flames on Dec. 28.
After playing 60 minutes, Sparks chose to remove himself from overtime with whatever was bothering him.
“We didn’t know anything was wrong until he came to the bench,” said Dineen after the game.
“He tweaked something and is still rehabbing it.”
With Christopher Gibson and Antoine Bibeau both healthy it is likely Sparks will be returned to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL when healthy.
In 15 games Percy has three assists and is a minus-10. Leivo has three goals and 10 points in 15 outings.