Jochen Hecht might miss his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The Sabres forward, who suffered concussion symptoms after getting hit in the head by teammate Shaone Morrisonn's helmet Sept. 18, returned to practice with his teammates today. However, he is unlikely to be ready for Tuesday's preseason game in his hometown of Mannheim, Germany.
"Any time you’re back out it’s a good sign, so hopefully he progresses," coach Lindy Ruff said in First Niagara Center. "I would say the answer for Tuesday is no. He hasn’t been involved in any practices of any level, and I wouldn’t consider that an option."
Hecht, who wore a noncontact jersey today, is hopeful he can progress enough to get in regular practices. The Sabres' exhibition Tuesday is against his former team, Adler Mannheim. Buffalo plays its final NHL preseason game tonight in Washington.
"I’m making progress," said Hecht, who also was sidelined by a concussion last season. "I’ve been skating on my own for a couple days, and today I did the pregame skate with the team, so it’s a step in the right direction.
"You worry about your health, and you want to make sure when you come back that you’re healthy and not taking steps backward. ... Every case is an individual case. I’m just worrying about how I feel, how I can make sure when I come back that I won’t have any problems again."