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Maple Leafs' Matthews Takes Part in First Practice Since Wrist Surgery

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews skated with his teammates for the first time since undergoing wrist surgery in August.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews worked on shooting drills and took part in practice at Ford Performance Centre, marking the first time he joined his teammates for an on-ice session since training camp opened last week.

"I don't know where it's going to lead," Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. "I think he's going to stay on a similar type of plan for the remainder of this week."

Matthews underwent wrist surgery on Aug. 13. The wrist bothered the sniper throughout the 2021 season, but it didn't stop the American forward from claiming the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy, handed out annually to the player who scores the most goals in the regular season.

"I think what’s really impressive, especially battling his injury last year, is his ability to adapt his game," Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said. "Obviously, he has such a unique shot and release, his ability to find ways to produce in different ways is such a key factor why he is so consistent."

Matthews scored 41 goals in 52 games last season. He spent nearly 30 minutes on the ice with the first group of players that took part in practice on Tuesday.

"You can tell he's come with some things that he's been focusing on here through the summer and he looks great off the ice and we're excited to see him on," Leafs forward Jason Spezza said of Matthews.

The 24-year-old had been skating every day since camp opened as he worked on his conditioning. He is expected to be in the lineup in time for opening night when the Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens. Matthews is expected to continue to join his teammate for the non-contact portion of practice for the remainder of the week. 

"It looks to me like he's doing well," Keefe said. "But in terms of him really pushing in terms of the shots and the torque that's associated with his shot, especially, that's something he's going to have to build towards and what he's going through right now."

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