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Tyler Ennis closer to returning for the Sabres

The week-to-week status of Tyler Ennis has shifted to day-to-day.

The forward again skated on his own then joined the handful of Buffalo Sabres taking an optional practice Wednesday morning at First Niagara Center in anticipation of Thursday’s home game against the Anaheim Ducks.

As has been usual in Ennis sightings the last three weeks, he was sporting the red “no contact” jersey on the ice as he continues to come back from an upper body injury which he said happened in his last game, Nov. 23 against St. Louis. Since then he’s been on the injured reserve missing the last 11 games.

“It was just my last game,” Ennis said Wednesday when asked when he suffered the injury. “So, body’s a strange thing. I just didn’t feel great and starting to feel really good now which is a good thing.”

The absence of Ennis has caused a shifting of lines by coach Dan Bylsma, perhaps more than usual in his scheme. It also has caused some shifts in the power play to make up for the loss of the dynamic play-making ability of Ennis.

“We’ve had to make some adjustments and put people in different spots on our power play and that’s all happened with Tyler out of the lineup,” Bylsma said. “I know we’re coming into a break here after the next two games and hopefully we can get him back sooner rather than later.”

For his part, Ennis feels good both skating and with his off-ice workouts. Looking to find ways to mitigate the frustrations of sitting out, Ennis sees a silver lining in his prolonged time out of the lineup.

“I’m just going to look at it as an opportunity to get in great shape,” Ennis said. “I’ve had some good skates and some good bike rides and I felt good. My body feels good. Maybe I can come back with a little more energy than some of the teams who have been in the grind the whole time. Maybe I’ll be in better shape than them.”

While neither Ennis nor Bylsma ruled out a return for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, the more likely scenario has the forward back after the holiday break.

But whenever he returns, Ennis knows what he wants to improve on from his first half of the season:

“Well I’d like to score a little more,” he said. “I haven’t put the puck in as much as I’ve wanted to. That’s one thing I want to improve on but it just comes down to simplicity – working as hard as you can and doing the little things and the goals will come.”

Bylsma said forward Marcus Foligno is day to day with an upper body injury he suffered in the Sabres 2-1 win in Detroit on Monday.

“It happened in the game in Detroit which he played with through that game,” Bylsma said.”

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