Whether he ends up playing this season or not, injured Buffalo Sabres center Derek Roy continues to be encouraged with his rehabilitation.
Roy has skated lightly three times in the last week, and had his first major workout Wednesday prior to the Sabres' optional morning skate in HSBC Arena. He was on the ice for nearly a half-hour and spent the last 15 minutes or so firing pucks at the net at both ends of the ice.
Roy was the only player on the ice during the workout. He was the team's leading scorer with 35 points in 35 games when he suffered a torn quad tendon Dec. 23 against Florida. He had surgery a few days later, with a recovery time listed of 4-6 months.
"It's been nice to get on the ice," Roy said. "Today it felt a lot better than the first few days where you just move around and see how it feels. Today I took a big step, started skating hard and got my heart rate up. The knee felt pretty good, not good in tight turns and starts and stops or anything. I haven't tried that yet."
Roy admitted he had some soreness in the knee but that's to be expected because he ramped up his workout.
"It's the nature of a hockey player. You want to get back, you try to push things," Roy said. "[Sabres doctor Les Bisson] said you can push it now. That little pain is nothing really."
Roy and coach Lindy Ruff both agreed there is no change in the center's timetable. The hope is Roy can return for the second round of the playoffs, if the Sabres advance that far.
"That would be right at the fourth-month period, right where [Bisson] said, the 4-6 months," Roy said. "I'm going with his knowledge on the thing. Obviously, I've never had an injury like this. Four months to play at an NHL level in the playoffs might be stretching it but I'm going to try to push for that. I'm ahead of schedule but you never know with these things."
Roy has not been seen much since the injury. He was walking with a cane in January and without the cane but still with a limp at new owner Terry Pegula's introductory news conference Feb. 22. Roy then got into uniform and took a few twirls around the ice after the Sabres had their team picture taken in the arena March 17.
"That gave me an estimation of where I was at that point in time. I've definitely made some huge strides since then," Roy said. "[Dr. Bisson] said at the three-month period, you usually start feeling a little bit better and all of a sudden your leg starts getting bigger and stronger. All of a sudden, things come quicker."