The Toronto Maple Leafs appeared to have dodged a bullet as far as defenseman Cody Franson is concerned.
The Leafs rear guard went heavily into the end boards during the Leafs 3-2 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday night and missed Toronto’s remaining two preseason games.
The club announced on Monday that Franson had suffered a left knee bruise.
On Saturday afternoon, Franson took to the ice for the first time to test out his knee.
“It’s getting better. There’s definitely some work to do to get it back to game shape, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Franson told reporters. “My goal is to be back for the home opener. I don’t want to miss any time if I don’t have to. The training staff is trying to make it as comfrotabe as possible in order to get back for the home opener.”
Franson admitted there’s still work to do as far as his knee is concerned prior to being cleared for the Leafs’ Oct. 8 season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.
“To get full mobility, you have to get the swelling to go away and there’s still a decent amount of swelling there,” he said.
Franson is also well aware that the hit he received from Torrey Mitchell could’ve had a much worse result.
"(The hit) could’ve gone a lot of different ways and I’m lucky it only came out with what it is,” said Franson. “Those are the plays you don’t like to see, but it happens and I got lucky.”
Franson will benefit from the Leafs not playing until Oct. 8, which gives him plenty of time to get that swelling to subside.
The news isn’t as positive for line mates Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel.
Kessel left the team’s practice Saturday due to a nagging lower body injury, which also forced him to miss Friday night’s preseason game against the Red Wings. Kessel’s injury is something that has been bothering him for over a week now as he’s been receiving treatment post-practice since at least last Friday (Sept. 26).
Bozak (lower body) didn’t skate at all Saturday, but reportedly went through an off-ice workout.
Forward Josh Leivo, who could be in line for an opening day roster for spot missed Saturday’s practice as well. He’s likely suffering a lower body injury after blocking a shot from Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith during Friday’s win.