Henri Jokiharju returns to Sabres practice on Friday

Robert Hagg missed practice, but should be a full go on Saturday

Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – Henri Jokiharju was the first from the injury list to return to practice on Friday. The defenseman did everything during the session, but he’s not going to play Sunday against the New York Rangers.

“Henri looked great. It’s just a matter of strength and making sure we give him the time to get back to strength," said Sabres head coach Don Granato following Friday's practice.

“The only concern going forward would be how fast he may fatigue.”

Granato said it usually takes a guy two to four practices, at most, before they get back going.

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Jokiharju has been out since the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. In the first period, he took a shot on the ankle, but never left the game. As it turned out, he played the last two periods with a broken bone in his ankle.

“I just kept the boot on with the skate, and that helps you play through the game. But if you take that boot off, it swells and you can’t put the skate back on,” said Jokiharju after practice.

Jokiharju has missed the 15 games since his injury, which was tough for him after an offseason of hard work to prepare for the 2021-22 season.

“It’s been tough, because I was waiting all summer to get back and then that happened," Jokiharju said. "It was a big setback for me.”

The 22-year-old defenseman has been on the ice for over a week now. He said it’s been easier being with some of the other guys.

“It was a long process with the trainers on the ice, and I had 'Vic' [Victor Olofsson], 'Mitzy' [Casey Mittelstadt] and 'Tucky' [Alex Tuch] on the ice as well," Jokiharju said. "It was bad for our team that it was that many guys, but it was nice that I didn’t have to be there by myself.”

With five games next week, Jokiharju hopes to return some time in that stretch.

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