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Hawks' Tyler Johnson skates for first time since neck surgery


The Blackhawks have to wait a bit until their next game, but they got some encouraging news on the injury front on Tuesday.

Tyler Johnson hit the ice as practice was wrapping up, and it was believed to be his first time skating since undergoing neck surgery on Dec. 3. He put on a three-month timetable, approximately.

"It was nice to see Tyler on the ice," interim head coach Derek King said. "I just had a little quick chat with him. I told him I wanted a photo with him in case nobody believed that I actually am coaching this kid. We just giggled and laughed a bit. ... It was just nice to see him out there. He's feeling better, he said."

Johnson didn't participate in any drills, but did he join his teammates for the fun post-practice festivities, which included the popular game of Two Puck.

 Johnson, most notably, had the same surgery as Jack Eichel, who became the first NHL player ever to have artificial disc replacement surgery. Eichel had the surgery on Nov. 12 and began skating again on Dec. 2, roughly three weeks later.

Now, Johnson is very clearly not close to returning to game action anytime soon but this is a positive first step. He suffered the injury on Oct. 29 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

In other news, Jujhar Khaira practiced for the second straight day and skated on the fourth line with Ryan Carpenter and MacKenzie Entwistle. He's been out since Dec. 7 after being stretchered off the ice against the New York Rangers.

All signs are pointing towards Khaira being ready to return whenever the Blackhawks play their next game, which, as of now, is Saturday vs. Nashville.

"I’d have to check with our trainer, but I'm hoping he’s ready to go," King said. "Obviously we don't want to be postponed, but I think the postponement of some of these games have helped some guys, especially a player like him who's coming off the injury. I'm hoping he’s ready to go once we get back to work here."

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