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Gudbranson returns to the ice, opens up about injury

Nov 26, 2012, 5:42 PM EDT

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Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson was tired but relieved on Monday following his first on-ice workout since injuring his shoulder while “training” in September, the Miami Herald’s George Richards reports.

“I’m not going to lie, this is tough,” Gudbranson said.

Admitting the true nature of his shoulder injury – which required surgery – was also tough, but he made the cause public today, as well.

As it turns out, the 20-year-old blueliner lost his right to continue collecting paychecks during the lockout because he hurt himself while wakeboarding, not training.

In the event that you’re prepping some “Erik Johnson on water” jokes, Gudbranson insists that he wasn’t being reckless.

“I wasn’t being stupid, it was just an unfortunate, awkward fall,” Gudbranson said.

In hindsight, he does admit that it was probably a bad decision, however.

“I wasn’t hurt playing hockey. I have learned from my mistakes,” Gudbranson said. “I needed to be honest with them. The players have been transparent during the lockout and I felt it was my duty to the Panthers to be transparent and honest with them. I hurt myself and it was unfortunate. I learned something the hard way. But I’m everything I can to get back on the ice.”

It’s reasonable that he isn’t get paid because of the cause of his injury, but Richards reports that lockout rules means he can’t speak with Panthers trainer David Zenobi about his rehab.

Instead, he’s more or less left on his own. On the bright side, he told Richards that he was “a little surprised at how good it felt” to get back on the ice.

If all goes well, Richards reports that Gudbranson is targeting a January AHL return – whether the lockout wages on or not.

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