Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson - who has been out since Feb. 13 with a 70 per cent sever of his achilles tendon and the subsequent surgery - skated with regular defensive partner Marc Methot at practice on Wednesday, leading to speculation that he may be back ahead of schedule.
Karlsson travelled with the team to Washington for Thursday's game against the Capitals. Should he play, it would be 10 weeks to the day since the injury occurred.
"There's always a chance... we'll see where it goes tomorrow. It's another step in the process," said Senators head coach Paul MacLean.
At the time of the injury, the team feared that Karlsson would miss three to four months but last year's Norris Trophy winner was cleared for contact by doctors last week.
The Senators face the Capitals looking for a win to clinch a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Seantors are in seventh place, tied in points with the New York Rangers and one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who have just one game left in the regular season. The Senators still have games remaining against the Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins.