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Phoenix’s Lombardi (shoulder) to return this weekend

Feb 19, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

Matthew Lombardi

The surging Phoenix Coyotes will likely get a bump this weekend as forward Matthew Lombardi is slated to return to action.

Lombardi, 30, has been shelved since Jan. 24 after suffering a shoulder injury against the Sharks. He proceeded to miss the next 12 games, which was actually a pleasant development for the veteran winger, considering surgery was an option — an option that would’ve sidelined for up to six weeks.

Instead, Lombardi opted to rehab the shoulder, and began skating a week and a half after the injury.

“Each day things got better,” Lombardi told the Arizona Republic. “I can’t say enough about how the training staff has been really good with me and pushing me through it. Things have gone good so far, so (I) hope for the best.”

The Coyotes beat the Flames 4-0 on Monday night and are now in the midst of a rarity during the condensed 48-game regular season — nearly a full week off.

They don’t play against until Saturday in Edmonton, which is when Lombardi should get back in the lineup.

Where he fits, though, remains to be seen.

Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett moved the speedy center up and down the lineup during the first four games of the season, including on a line with last year’s leading goalscorer, Radim Vrbata, and playoff scoring hero Mikkel Boedker.

“He’s a pretty driven guy right now,” Tippett said of Lombardi. “He’s just got to get out there and get himself feeling comfortable in the role he’s in. For him, it’s all just about playing right now.”

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