Mason Raymond nears return to Canucks lineup

Mason Raymond is close to returning from a fractured vertebra in his back.
Very close.
The expectation is the Canucks forward could be back in the lineup for this week’s three-game road trip, which begins on Wednesday in Colorado.

Both Raymond and head coach Alain Vigneault hedged about a firm time frame on the fleet winger playing a game, but all the signs at practice on Monday at Rogers Arena were that it might be sooner than later.
Raymond, who suffered the serious back injury last June in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final in Boston, skated on a regular line for the first time since he was cleared for contact last week. Raymond was with centre Ryan Kesler and winger David Booth and received a chorus of stick taps on the ice from his teammates when Vigneault told him to take the left wing spot on the line to start practice.
“I haven’t talked to him about his possible return date,” said Vigneault. “I do think that as far as health-wise, condition-wise, he’s fine. It’s just a matter of him feeling ready to go and getting a couple of good practices. I’m not sure when we’re going to do that, but he has looked real good in practices and he’s close.”
After Denver, the Canucks play in Phoenix on Friday and San Jose on Saturday.
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